The beautiful village of Tattenhall in Cheshire
Nick James: February 2019
From the moment that Tinkerbell was lowered onto the stage to proclaim 'This is the Greatest Show', the audience knew that they were in for another spectacular treat from Tattenhall Amateur Dramatics Society. The drama of the opening number was quickly followed by gasps from the expectant on-lookers as the full extent of the visually stunning set was revealed — a split level pirate ship designed by Caroline Artingstall and expertly built by Rob Turner and his set team.
This pantomime production of Peter Pan had pace, verve and excitement. Tinkerbell's flashing masterpiece of a costume, carefully created by Linda Davenport, was equally matched by a fine singing and acting performance from Hannah Bennett. James Ayshford as Peter Pan and Joanna Mitton as Wendy played their lead roles with a maturity and skill beyond their years, with Freddy Pallett as John and Keane Hazeldine as Michael both making strong debuts and indicating once again the strong TADS reputation for identifying and developing young talent.
The pipeline for these young actors is of course the large band of local children brought together by Jane Matthews and Tara Weaver and choreographed by Aisling Swift across several scenes, including a rousing fight scene involving the fiercesome pirates and a magical sea-scape involving the young mermaids.
Top-level slap-stick was on hand both from the traditional Pantomime Dame (Dave Evans) and a comic pirate duo of Rum and Coke (Dave Gardiner and Charlie Cooke) whose on-stage physicality and antics thrilled young and old alike. Comedy and pathos were never far apart, perhaps most memorably when the 6 Lost Boys (all cast members of a more mature age) awkwardly climbed through a small stage window as their new mother (Claire Russell) sang a melodic rendition of 'My Favourite Things'.
The Performance Director and Chair of TADS, Alison Pritchard, demonstrated once again skill and judgement in creating a show which offered roles for a cast of over 40, with ages ranging from 7 to 77, and still managing to reach heights of professionalism rarely seen in local amateur dramatics.
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