Laughs come think and fast in panto

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REVIEW: Little Red Riding Hood, The Quay Theatre, Sudbury, until December 28

It just would not be Christmas without the traditional pantomime, and Sudbury Dramatic Society’s offering was a show to warm the cockles of your winter heart.

But don’t tell the Winter King (Richard Fawcett), because he’s intent on taking over the world and keeping everything frozen over for ever.

One person can foil his evil plan though, and that’s Little Red Riding Hood (Laura Barnard) with her magic power of sweetness and light. So he sends the Wolf (Nick Elliott) in to eat her.

Plenty of opportunity here for the traditional booing and hissing, which the audience of youngsters took up with gusto.

The cast did really well in interacting with them and even hauled one of the parents up on stage, which he coped with admirably – a timely reminder not to sit too near the front though.

Laughs came thick and fast due to a well-written script – the operation scene when they extract poor Granny (Linda Dowdall) from the Wolf’s tummy was hilarious.

Laura did brilliantly as Red Riding Hood, as did Ryan Ingram as Peter, but for me the show-stealer was Elin Massey, whose performance as Jack Frost was as sparkling as her excellent costume.

I hope that Mark Holtom, who took the part of the panto dame Mrs Hood, can find a little extra splash of self-confidence, as this is a part which demands to be played with much over-the-top showmanship, which I felt was a bit lacking here.

Set painters Trevor Harvey, Liz Cole, Jo Brooker and Michael Harding deserve a round of applause for the excellent scenery, especially the icy cavern of the Winter King.

The panto was written by Andy Gribben and directed by Robert Crichton, and different actors will be taking the parts as the show progresses.