Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society is back on the Strode stage for the fourth Christmas season, this year with Keith Marsden and Geoffrey Rundle’s version of Puss in Boots, directed by Rodney Gifford.
Played against beautiful new sets in sumptuous costumes, this show is full of humour and invention – and a lot of dance.
With the talented members of the South West School of Dance fielding two teams of young dancers, all under the eye of Sarah Neale, there is a dance number for every occasion, and the singing is also excellent.
The bones of the story are all there – brave and hardworking Colin is duped out of his inheritance by his step siblings (here Helen and Joe Chester in their Krankies manifestation), but falls in love with the princess, is helped by a magic cat who foils the ogre and his henchman … and of course all live happily ever after.
The drowning of the cat and its arrival in Catland is a bit weird, since Catland is at the bottom of the sea and bereft of cream, milk, butter, fish and comfy cushions, but the backdrop will do nicely for other panto stories.
James Newton and Pete Fernandez are terrific as the flamboyant, pretty and powerful queen and the diffident king with an endless repertoire of bad jokes.
Matthew Maisey is a very hissable Slime the Lawyer, looking extraordinarily like the late great Mick Ronson from the Spiders from Mars.
Kate Hatt’s plucky puss saves the day for Colin (Georgia Wall) and the princess (Bethany Baker), whose voices blend so well for the big romantic duets.
Steve McCullagh makes the most of a brief ogre-ish appearance.
The comic routines include a very funny 12 Days of Christmas and a ghostly encounter with two ghouls and two swing doors – and brilliant timing.
There’s nothing too scary for even the youngest audience members, and the whole thing is backed by Tom Billing’s terrific quartet.
Another memorable panto from G&SMCS, whose next show at Street is The Witches of Eastwick in April.