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Panto time brings convincing characters and fun jokes

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

  • Roy Duncan as the pantomime dame

  • Some of the girls in the cast of Scilly pantomime Jack Of Diamonds which was staged by the St Mary's Theatre Club.

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Jack Of Diamonds, St Mary's Theatre Club

Review by Clive Tregarthen

COMPARED with last year's vampire interpretation of pantomime, this year's St Mary's Theatre Club's offering verged on the traditional.

That is, if you are prepared to concede as such the appearance before a dumbstruck audience of a large man with a crown on his head stripped to figure-hugging long johns.

In essence Jon MacKenzie's Jack Of Diamonds centred around a plot – backed up by many intricately woven sub-issues too complicated to explain – in which jewels were stolen from King Caractacus and an attempt was made by a robber villain Baron Bane, aided by a palace insider Lord Viscous, to solicit a reward for (re)finding them.

The jewels are planted in the home of Dame Erintrude Buttercup, which is bad news for the Dame's son Jack because he loves the royal daughter Princess Diane, and the bold bad Baron (rather than Jack) is promised her hand if the jewels are returned to the palace.

Such attendant issues as Mayor Marmite's love for the Dame, the Rev Righteous's coveting of the royal reward to go to church roof repairs, the King's hilarious 'magic suit' interlude and the garden festival ambitions of the Dame, who is also under pressure from the big bad Bane over rent, all run parallel to the main business.

A range of singable ditties accompanies the action, supplemented by a slew of topical sideswipes that savage perceived Tresco elitism, the Co-Op shelves (as per usual), Newquay airport and the St Mary's community bus.

The odd longeur to remember lines as always spiced the enjoyment, as did a 2014 version of last year's Zombies.

Panto director Kevin Leeman cavorted around to good effect as a costumed rabbit.

Rock drummer Roy Duncan – as a thoroughly efficient Dame – successfully traded the Steamband's recent Hall For Cornwall stage for panto greasepaint, while Becky Thomas turned in a powerful showing as Jack.

His love, the Princess (Laura Pearson), is winsome with a pleasant singing voice.

The production had two villains – David Corners, as Baron Bane, who was matched, perhaps outdone in the evil department, by one of the show's newcomers Jamie Bates (as Lord Viscous ).

George Pearson filled with substance the role of the king, who imagines he is wearing a magic suit but is, in fact, (near) starkers.

The role of the Queen is, at short notice, filled by Maureen Carter. Roger White was an efficient Mayor Marmite and Zoe Jenkins was a convincingly righteous Reverend.

Some 20 youngsters made up the ensemble in Jon Mackenzie's production which can be counted a palpable hit.

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