Markham Players

by | 13 March 2024 | Performing Arts, Retford

Markham Players performed their pantomime to appreciative audiences at Dunham on Trent and East Markham Village Halls once again in early February. The line-up included many of the regular favourite faces as well as a few new ones.

This year Greg Morrall was in the director’s chair as well as on stage. His larger-than-life personality must have made rehearsals interesting, but it was alright on the night. In fact, it was more than alright as the cast responded to each other and the enthusiastic participation of the audience to give a tremendous performance.

On stage, John Mitchell had the unenviable task of trying to keep up with Greg (Botchitt) and his flexible approach to the script whilst playing the charming but dim witted Leggitt. With those two at large it was bound to be a success, and equally bound to have its moments of chaos.

Penelope Thornton took the lead this year as the beautiful Snow White, who managed to maintain an air of serenity despite the threats to her life. She was helped by Peter the Panda, whom she had given to her good friend Bertie, played by crowd favourite Mary Dainton, who also played spirit in the mirror.

Bertie was assisted in trying to keep Snow White safe by Harry, the faintly disguised huntsman, played by Bob Gale. While the audience could see that he was going to be revealed as a prince and the hero of the hour, the Wicked Queen (Claire Whittaker-Smith) was so wrapped up in herself that she had no idea. Claire certainly handled the roles of the haughty Queen and the poisonous old people in the woods with wicked enthusiasm.

There was a new crew of young dancers this year, ably choreographed by Abbey Mitchell.

After the Mirror told the Queen that Snow White was the most beautiful in the land, she was so consumed with jealous rage that she ordered Harry to kill the princess. Harry, who declared his love for the beautiful young girl, took her deep into the woods. He planned to fool the Queen by taking her the heart and liver of a wild creature as if they were Snow White’s. He left her with the seven dwarves. Inevitably these were about the seven tallest members of the cast, but they certainly dwarfed the princess. Their antics added to the fun and laughter.

In the woods, Snow White and the audience were introduced to Ma Bumble, mother of the dwarves and Mark Thornton’s opportunity to unleash his mischievous side as the dame. Regular attendees will not be surprised that he attacked the role with relish. The costume department is to be commended on Ma’s wardrobe of frocks and wigs.

Inevitably the Wicked Queen managed to poison the kind and caring princess. All seemed lost until Harry revealed himself to be Prince Harry of Amereeca and, in his grief at losing the love of his life just as he had found her, delivered the kiss to her hand which revived her.

Conveniently Snow White’s father, the King (Alex Nicol), who had been away exploring who-knew-where throughout all the drama, returned home just in time to witness the crisis in the woods and the happy ending.

The evening ended with a rousing round of applause from the delighted audience, who will doubtless be back next year hoping for more from this entertaining troupe.

There are always opportunities backstage as well as on stage for anyone who would like to be part of the fun next year. More information can be found on Facebook by looking up ‘Markham Players’.