Treasure Island, SNADS at The Exchange

SHIVER me timbers, there’s some piratical goings on in deepest Stur. The evil one-legged Long John Silver and his fiendish crew have recruited the WI to join the crew of the Hispanola and blood is sure to be spilled!

SNADS has chosen Ben Crocker’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s great adventure story and it’s an ideal choice for an amateur group, where the women often outnumber the men. So, yes, you read it right – the ladies of the Smugglers Cove WI have buckled on their cutlasses, belted their breeches and taken to the high seas.

Doris (the scene-stealing Matt Rawson) has a particularly fetching lace trimmed outfit, while Vanessa Dawson as Mrs Davina Henderson, the WI chair (listen out for the sofa joke) is every inch the pillar of society, at her best as she assesses the health and safety risks of walking the plank.

When it comes to scene-stealing, Ann Baseden, in what she says will be her last panto role, is a joy as Polly the parrot, whose feathers are definitely ruffled by the constant refusal of Silver (Giles Henschel) to let her perch on his shoulder.

Talking of panto farewell performances, it was a pleasure, of course, to see that Ian Greig has not pensioned off his frilly skirts and wonderfully arch way with words. Last year’s panto was supposed to be his last, but the call of the sea was obviously too strong!

The dashing Jim Hawkins of Kirstie Price is well matched by Sophie Revell, who has an excellent singing voice. Trevor Puckett has great fun as her cake-loving father, Squire Trelawney and Toby Greenfield makes the most of his cameo role as Ben Gunn.

The opening night scene changes were slow – and would have been helped by some music – but overall it’s a fun show with plenty of laughs, some good chorus singing and attractive dancing by Sturminster Newton Dance School.


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