It’s pantomime season and ‘Scrooge’ is coming! Wellington Pantomime Group’s latest production is in the final stages of rehearsal and promises to be a huge success when it reaches the Wellesley Theatre stage on 21st January.
The script, written under the pen-name Andrew Winfield, embraces all the usual delights of pantomime: a dame (who is not), a pretty principal boy (who is both), a villain (who is very nasty), lots of good-natured humour, puns, running gags, audience participation, a bit of slapstick, romance, a happy ending, songs, dancing – all the elements that have made the genre so enduring. But there are also many elements that Dickens himself would recognise – a sour miser, several ghosts, a starving family, the crippled Tiny Tim, a story of redemption – cleverly altered to extract the most entertainment. Be prepared for some delightfully witty distortions of well-known characters from ‘A Christmas Carol’ and a couple from other novels, all of them apparently now residents of Wellington rather than 19th century London. Dickens might well turn in his grave – then get up and join in the fun.
Director Colin Marshall and choreographer Charlie Evans have drawn together “a cast of thousands” according to Paul Smith who plays Dame Dottie Dilber. It includes many of the Pantomime Group’s accomplished regulars, several new faces and lots of youngsters. On the evidence of one evening’s rehearsal, all of them are having great fun and, despite weeks with the script, still finding it very funny – which it certainly is. The audience too will enjoy the show and can look forward to a thoroughly entertaining night out for the whole family at a local venue. And, as Marley says: “This is pantomime – there won’t be any underacting here!”
For a run that includes an arduous 3 performances in one day on Saturday 24th January and 7 in the week as a whole, ‘Scrooge’ opens on Wednesday 21st and closes on Sunday 25th January. Tickets from the Box Office (0844 997 9000), or by email from WellingtonArtsCentre@live.co.uk or from Nurtured By Nature in South Street.
Report & Photos: Gill Paltridge