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My 11 year old son and I joined a packed house on Friday, wondering how the cautionary tale of Little Red Riding Hood would be turned into a panto – and thoroughly enjoyed the Helmdon Bridge Players show from start to finish.

All the ingredients of the traditional Christmas village show were there – the battle of Good versus Evil   liberally spiced with topical jokes, a Morris dace, a striptease from the dame, and a slapstick scene with wallpaper and paste.

Even Prince Charming arrived with his valet Dandini to help the action along.   Of course, Good triumphed in the end – it always does, writes Duff Templeton.

The quality of the playing was very even, and it would be unfair to single out some of the performances and not others.

However, I must mention the chorus, who started the show off really well, and radiated enjoyment throughout.

The music supported the action with some well-chosen songs (nice to hear the introduction as well as the refrain).

Notable characters were the Fairy Queen (Edith Shellard) looking so much like Mary Whitehouse that it could not  have been accidental) and her coterie of Sugar Plum Fairies (four men in pink tutus – need I say more??

Also some inspired casting had four members of the Morris family performing – yes - the Morris dance with skill and gusto.

The hall of Helmdon Primary School is certainly not an ideal theatre, but with an imaginative and well-designed set – and good direction from David Darbyshire - the players kept the action going and carried the evening off triumphantly.

Probable Banbury or Brackley newspaper






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