Humpty Dumpty Review – Clare Carter
THIS year’s MAD pantomime, Humpty Dumpty, really was eggcellent!
The scene was set in Eggsville, where Humpty Dumpty was sitting merrily on the wall before falling off (with some gentle persuasion from baddie Belladonna). From that moment onward, chaos reigned in true panto style as the King searched for his royal crown.
King Eggbert was played by Royce Plyer, who gave a great performance as the slightly batty and forgetful monarch, daring to defy Belladonna’s romantic advances. Jenny Wood co-directed the show as well as starring as the evil sorceress Belladonna. I really enjoyed seeing Jenny in this role as did the rest of the audience who were extremely vocal with their ‘boos’. There really is no fury like a woman scorned!
The King’s heart belonged to panto dame Olive Omelette, played by Ben Harvey. With a wardrobe any dame would have been envious of, one of my favourite moments of this year’s show had to be the King and the Dame’s rendition of Dirty Dancing’s ‘Time of My Life’. Building up to the big lift, the audience gasped as Ben backed up but, luckily, they were helped out by young Amelie Tyne, who literally threw herself into the part.
The King’s Men (Edward Griffiths and Julie Wells) provided the comedy as they haplessly tried to help the King’s plight while just making matters worse with their antics. Julie’s Corporal had the audience giggling with her silly jokes as Edward, her Sergeant, tried his best to keep her in line.
While the nursery rhyme might lead you to believe that Humpty Dumpty was a nice fella, don’t you believe a word of it! Joe Tapper played the stroppy egg well and planned to steal the King’s crown and marry the Princess Faberge, played by Heather Johns. Thankfully, some form of sense came in the shape of Prince Michael of Mayonnaise played by Simone Sullivan-Gilbury who was quick with a plan and an occasional thigh slap, fighting his way through a stream of unsavory characters. As always, it was great to hear Simone sing and alongside Heather their duet was eggstraordinarily good.
The search for the crown took them to Stonehenge, where they met Mrs Mistletoe played by Jill Clarke. It was great to see Jill take on a bigger role again this year and her Scottish accent brought her character to life.
It was hard to believe that the floaty, spaced out Misty Haze was in fact co-director Jackie Plyer who soon had everyone laughing. Why is the grass green?!
Liver bird Nicky Nobath, a hippy chick with a love of 80’s music, was played by Gaby Clarke who seemed very at home with the part.
Dan Sinnott lurched onto the stage in the second act as Belladonna’s servant Bettlebrow Dragfoot rocking to the Monster Mash.
The King’s team of cheerleaders were on hand to remind him what was happening and the chorus were brilliant with plenty of lively singing and dancing which they were clearly all enjoying.
The band had everyone’s toes tapping before the curtain even went up and this continued throughout the show with a great selection of songs to entertain and delight. Dance routines were slick and brilliantly choreographed. I was still singing the Hippy Hippy Shake the next day!
As we journeyed from Eggsville to Stonehenge to the Land of Ice and Snow and entered the scary Cave of Cobwebs the bright colours and bold designs of the scenery helped to transport the audience from place to place.
This year’s costumes seemed better than ever with everything from some outstanding dames dresses to zombies, hippies, cheerleaders, winter woolies and, of course, the Princess’s wedding dress which was much admired by the Brownies in the audience.
The whole production could not happen without the team of people behind the scenes, from stage crew and make up to sound and lights and a brilliant front of house team who always have a warm welcome for the audience. Next year I will try not to jump when the confetti canons go off!
Well done MAD, another show to be proud of. Roll on next year.