Paul Underwood cavorting around the school hall Gangnam-style? It can mean only one thing... yes, it's the Bridge Players' Xmas Panto!
Mirror, mirror, on the wall...
The Panto this year was Snow White, directed by Morag Underwood and produced by Dave Bridger.
You know the story: once upon a time, in a land not far from here (but far enough not to be flooded every other day), lived a beautiful princess called Snow White (Emily Wright). Her mother Queen White, had tragically died when Snow was very young and King White (Neil Smith), who was a very silly man (the King, not Neil), had chosen a new Queen. The new Queen (Zoe Dyndor) was not popular (the Queen, not Zoe) and was commonly known as the Wicked Queen (boooo!! hissss!!!). She was particularly horrid to Snow White because she was jealous of her beauty.
The Palace Cook, (curves in all the wrong places) Dame Senna Pod (Paul Underwood), Hannah the Chief Maid (Bryony Worthy) and fitness freak (the emphasis on freak!) Pushup (Jonty Bridger) kept the laughs coming and the action moving.
The rapping Royal Wizard Barry Trotter (Jonathan Oldershaw) tries creating a time-machine and accidentally creates a magic talking-mirror instead. When the Queen learns of this, she asks the Mirror (Becky Leitelmayer) "Who is the fairest in the land"? Neville the Chamberlain (Dave Bridger) is the Keeper of the Magic Mirror but despite his best endeavours the Magic Mirror cannot lie and tells her that the fairest in the land is Snow White. This enrages the Queen who plots to have Snow White killed, but Hans the Woodcutter (John Plunkett) who is charged with carrying out the wicked deed can't go through with it (despite having the biggest chopper in Helmdon) and he allows Snow White to run away into the forest. However, he can't keep the news to himself and confides in the princess's hand-maiden Rose (Beth Gordon) that Snow is still alive.
The frightened Princess eventually ends up at the home of the Seven Dwarfs (Hannah Shepherd (Prof), Josie Pamment (Drippy), Alfie Adhemar (Dozy), Calhoun Smith (Beaky), Shannon Smith (Merry), Daniel Toman (Titch) and Robert Duncombe (Bigmouth)), who promise to look after her and keep her safe. But the Queen's wickedness knows no bounds and she tracks the Princess down and tricks her into eating a poisoned apple (boooo!! hissss!!!). The Seven Dwarfs return from the Bell and discover Snow White lying ‘dead’ and the grief-stricken little people plan to lay her to rest. But Snow White isn’t really dead and the thigh-slapping Prince Valentine (Sarah Adhemar) rides in on her trusty steed Dobbin (Gareth Dean and Jonathan Oldershaw) to kiss the Princess awake, in true fairytale tradition.
Returning to the palace, Neville the Chamberlain tricks the Wicked Queen in to using the Magic Mirror one more time and she finally gets her comeuppance as it transports her back in time to the land of the dinosaurs (or "Wappenham" as it is known locally). Snow White marries her Prince and, yes you guessed it, they all live happily - ever - after!
Lucy Adhemar, Lauren Ball, Angelia Pleis and Lucy Shepherd formed the Chorus and delighted the audience throughout with their vignettes. Behind the scenes some of the usual suspects were found lurking... John Coatsworth (Stage Manager), Felicity Dyndor (Assistant Director), Dave Dyndor and Gareth Dean (Stage Assistants), Val Smith (Properties), Celia Edmondson (Choreography), Lisa Wright, Charlotte Garner, Marie Gordon and Eleanor Shepherd (Make Up), Mark Underwood (Lights & Sounds), Joe Adhemar (Sounds Effects), Anne Dyndor (Front of House & Refreshments) and Becky Leitelmayer (General Factotum (in addition to her main part)).
Without doubt the Bridge Players Xmas Panto is the light entertainment highlight of the year in Helmdon. So well done the Bridge Players, that's another very successful performance BEHIND YOU!!!
Report & photos - Danny Moody
A Special Message From The Bridge Players
We do not play bridge but we have been the drama queens of the village for 24 years. Our group was started by Sue Wallace and Willy (Richard) Watson in association with some others and in the early years Sue and Willy were the creative force behind our productions. We started with panto for Christmas and soon added drama productions in the summer. Illness forced Sue to retire from our group and Willy tragically died a few years ago. Willy had always dreamed of creating a theatre space in Helmdon and Sue has now decided to provide a fitting memorial to Willy by donating theatrical lighting to the Bridge Players. This will be available as a village resource in the Reading Room. We wish to express our sincere thanks to Sue for her very generous donation. A further donation from HYHO will ensure that the project can be professionally fitted to a high standard. Many young people in the village have benefited from the chance to increase their confidence by treading the boards with us and we are delighted that this tradition will be continuing with upgraded technology!