On Saturday night I went sailing on the high seas. Well, not really, but the stage at Barnby Memorial Hall, Blyth, became a ship’s deck and we, the audience, were transported to an island off the coast of Brazil.
Some trip you might say, but Blyth Players took to it like proverbial sea ducks to water. Because of the unusual setting you may have guessed by now that this was no ordinary pantomime and it was, therefore, refreshing to see Robinson Crusoe by Ron Hall directed by Blyth Players own Sharon Hughes and Jeanette Adams.
Although the script bore very little resemblance to the original story, it took Robinson Crusoe and his travels to a new level. The cast, chorus and dancers were having a jolly good time and the visual effects would have made a 1930s film-maker proud.
As building sets slid off stage the ship set sail, an inflatable shark ate chunks out of a piece of bread, lightning flickered on the backdrop and copious amounts of smoke covered the stage to accompany a glittering fairy. Blue fabric swathes billowed for waves and fluorescent fish swam dreamily through them.
Nasty characters shouted abuse at the audience who, it must be said, were decidedly lippy resulting in some actors going considerably off-script, much to our amusement.
Everyone got a chance to shine in this production whether it was in the costume design, trans-gender dressing-up, comedy, the singing or the well-choreographed dancing.
As scenes floated before my eyes as I ‘sailed’ home one in particular stayed with me, that of Billy Crusoe up to his neck in a large cooking pot singing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - brilliant! by Wendy Fidoe