The snow on the ground certainly gave a festive feel to the Company of Four’s pantomime Puss In Boots.
As always the Company of Four deliver a truly traditional Panto, with fun, frolics and lots of slapstick, plus a few jokes thrown in for the older members of the audience.
Puss In Boots follows the tale of Miller’s son Colin and his pet cat, as they strive against the odds to win the hand of princess Rose and rescue her mother, the queen from the evil Ogre. Puss, however, is no ordinary cat, he has been enchanted by the Queen of Catland, who has given him the ability to walk and talk just like a human and using his new found powers, Puss sets about a plan to defeat the Ogre.
All pantomimes need a dame and Paul Leech as Dame Cranberry is just fantastic and had the audience in fits of laughter from the outset, I may add not all of the jokes were in the script!
Grace Wellfare, makes a convincing Puss and kept in character throughout, whilst Simon Dodwell, makes an unlikely hero as Reckless Roger, the Ogre’s bailiff.
Puss in Boots also sees some great vocal performances, Julie Howes as Queen of Catland and Vicky Hart, Madam Clarissa, the school teacher both require a special mention, as does Julian Illman as King Rupert, who stole the show for this reviewer. Illman plays a king that could have just stepped off the set of a Disney movie and he has the most wonderful singing voice too.
With many influences from other productions, including Cats and Phantom, Company of Four have again produced an evening out to remember and it was clear from the cheers of the younger members in the audiences that all enjoyed the show.
Although an amateur production, Puss in Boots could give some professional pantos a run for their money. An evening of truly traditional family fun with plenty of laughs along the way – not all of them planned…
• Puss in Boots is at The Riverside Theatre, 10-18th February, box office daily 10am-8pm, 01394 382174.