EAST HARLSEY Pantomime Players took to the stage again after a year off in 2018 with their production of Alan Frayn’s pantomime, The Pied Piper.

The pantomime began literally with a bang which heralded the appearance of Fairy Strudel (Judith Allan) and her sinister rival, Sour-Kraut, a part which Sarah Martin played with relish. They set the scene and made several explosive appearances throughout the play to guide us through the story.

There was humour and slapstick in abundance, especially from the Dame and her son Willie (hilariously played by Julian Whaley and Stanley Perry), and the comedy double act of Richard Martin and Shirley Smith as the dim and incompetent rat-catchers, Blatter and Splatter, whose incredible tongue-twisters drew cheers from the audience.

A trio of younger members took on principal parts for the first time. Owen Beadle (the Pied Piper), Thea Dyke (Hans) and Amelie Hunter as Heidi all gave confident and polished performances. Another newcomer, David Sharpe, gave the Burgomeister and air of authority, while Salli Dunwell kept her army of ratlets under control as their leader, Ratworst. The chorus of youngsters, who doubled-up as village children and rats, was full of energy and enthusiasm.

Special mention must go to the backstage crew who were responsible for some dramatic make-up, colourful costumes and scenery, atmospheric lighting, special effects and explosions aplenty.

All these elements were ably drawn together by director, Mike Wilson, to provide fun-filled entertainment for all ages with many opportunities for audience participation. Yes, there may have been the occasional forgotten line and moments when there was more ad-libbing than scripted text, but this simply added to the fun!

Thank you East Harlsey Pantomime Players for all the mayhem and merriment in this year’s show. We’re glad you’re back!

Kate Alderson