THE Paul Reakes version of Goody Two Shoes throws away the original story to create a pantomime that includes all the essential elements of the genre. It was that version that Tarrant Valley Players chose for their 2016 show, packing out the Anne Biddlecombe Hall in Tarrant Keyneston for its three night run.
The Players is a true community venture, and there really is something for all the family performed by a cast whose ages range from eight to 80.
You never know who you might see where. Co-director Emma Chalkley is up there giving a show stealing performance as the squeaky-voiced Cissy.
Producer, extra writer and sound engineer Alexis Austin has perfected the run-up from the desk to the stage to play a high camp Personal Assistant to the Baddie, Septica, who is played by 14 year-old Poppy Bayer, whose father is the other co-director, has organised the choreography and only stepped into the acting role a fortnight before the opening night.
This is how village pantomime legends are made.
A scan down the cast and production list shows powerful family links, and they stretch back into the Players’ history.
Stalwart Adrian Tuite has a different role this year. Son of elven parents, the tiny Benson Bayer and Lizzy Herridge, and brother to the miniscule, Financial Times reading Legolas (William Bayer), he is Norman, a ginormous elf with huge hair and massive pointy ears, and he has some trouble getting home through the family doorway in a treetrunk. Oh, and he’s also a cobbler, charged with mending the witchy Septica’s favourite shoes. These ruby slippers are magic, and when Goody picks them up from the forest floor they change her life.
Before long the spoiled brat Cissy takes a fancy to the shiny shoes, and then the fun starts in earnest.
Then (of course) there’s the dame, Molly Coddle (in the loud and bearded form of Rob Chalkley), her dimwitted but loveable son Teddy (Steve Herridge) and her lovely daughter Goody (Milly Herridge), who ends up with more shoes than she knows what to do with.
The hero, Simon, has Mandy Ireland-Jones proudly clinging to the female principal boy tradition, with Ben Bayer as Titus Tightwad the miserly landlord, Denise and Peter Pearson as knockabout baddie’s men Rolo and Polo, and even a guest appearance by a noble steed.
It’s all huge fun, with lots of local jokes (mostly at the expense of Spetisbury-down-the-Road), classic rock song, cleverly chosen musical moments and a few dances.
If you didn’t have a ticket, you missed a great show. GP-W