WITH some brilliant cameos, jolly songs, corny jokes, colourful costumes and a very stylish set, COMPACT’s production of Sinbad the Sailor at Child Okeford sparkled from start to finish. Even the safety regulations (together with the inevitable reminder to turn off our mobile phones) were part of the act and helped get the audience in panto mood.
The show told the story of the nephew of the famous Sinbad the Sailor who wanted to be just like his uncle and sail the seven seas in search of treasure and adventure. Sarah Blake in the title role made a fine principal boy, ably matched by Sue Olds as his (her?) sidekick Dimdim; what a delight her performance was, making the most of every opportunity that came her way. John Nash as the baddie, Marzavan the Merciless, achieved a fine rapport with the audience who hissed and booed with glee, Bill Ebdon as TSB the Pirate Captain (a banker who wanted a career change) cut a fine swashbuckling figure and managed some lovely changes of accent as well, whilst the Genie, Fatima Babubi, played with relish by Don Courtney, was the closest we got to a pantomime dame.
All pantomimes have happy endings of course and Sinba was no exception, with no fewer than four weddings (although no funeral) on the cards by the time we reached the finale. In the love interest roles, Lauren Radburn as Sultana, Oonagh Eveleigh as Kisskiss Tangerine and Hilary Osborne as the seductive witch Griselda Nightshade each played their characters with evident enthusiasm as they pursued the men of their dreams, while the Pirate Captain rather surprisingly ended up with the Genie – who had become mortal having exhausted her supply of spells!
It goes without saying that the audience loved it all, whether it was hissing or cheering, being pelted with cannon balls, dumplings and sausages or simply joining in the songs. The music itself was very well chosen and performed with liveliness and pace, and where the lyrics of well known songs had been altered to suit the contingencies of the plot they were sharp and clear, thanks both to the singers’ diction and to the excellent piano accompaniment provided by Barry Curtis.
There were some clever technical touches too. The tiny stage never appeared crowded, the stage crew (often executing the set changes to the tune of Right Said Fred) became as much a part of the show as anything else, the sound effects were as good as any I have heard in an amateur show, whilst the use of tiny models to portray the journeying of the magic carpet, dragon and pirate ship was highly ingenious.
Sinbad the Sailor was a real community effort and Sammy and Charles Upton are to be congratulated on heading the team and putting together such an enjoyable show.
24th February 2014