REVIEW: Colaton Raleigh Players serve up a treat with Blue Beard

PUBLISHED: 18:32 28 February 2017

Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.

Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.

Archant

Like Christmas dinner, the local panto is a traditional feast, and last week Colaton Raleigh Players served up a treat, writes Delia Pemberton.

Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.

Director Chrissy Brinacombe’s choice of Peter Reakes’ Blue Beard was a refreshing change from the usual Aladdins and Cinderellas, and she delivered a pacy production that kept the audience laughing and booing from beginning to end.

Very much an ensemble piece, there were plenty of juicy roles to go around, from the villainous Blue Beard (Alan Hulse) to the heroine and hero, Flora Rockbottom and her beau Robin Reliant.

Played by Anya Hawtin and Anna Constable with conviction and the proper amount of thigh-slapping, the junior leads impressed, and though it was unusual to see a female player in the role of dame, Sue Simpson embraced the part of Flora’s man-eating sister Ruby with gusto.

There was kitchen slapstick, the obligatory ghost scene, and outrageous accents were given free rein. Chris Silverthorne played the girls’ father as an over-the-top Northerner, French maid Marie (Tracy Salter) ladled on the ooh-la-las, and David Merrifield and Jo McKenzie gave their best West Country yokel impressions as servants Fetch and Carrie.

Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.Colaton Raleigh Players' production of 'Bluebeard'. Picture: Derrick Holiday.

Doreen Kociuba made a spendidly sinister housekeeper as Mrs Shivers, but the star of the show was Judith Constable as the Baron’s repulsive, yet weirdly sympathetic, henchman Lurkin.

The main cast was ably supported by the adult chorus, while the word-perfect junior chorus delighted the audience with their set pieces, especially the comedic kitchen scene. The music, under the direction of John Davies, gave the audience some toe-tapping choruses, and Tim Pink’s economical but ingenious sets carried the action seamlessly from village to forest to castle.

A success? Oh yes it was!

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