What: Puss'n Boots.
Where: Aubyn Live Theatre, St Aubyn St, Hastings.
When: 4 to 12 July 4pm & 7.30pm. Tickets at Eventfinda.co.nz
Reviewed by: Keith Russell
Pantomimes are often a child's first experience of live theatre so it seems fitting that Aubyn Live's school holiday production includes the newest of performers from the children's chorus to seasoned adults in more leading roles.
Puss'n Boots is a traditional show, unusual in that the leading role is a speaking animal, and who would not be enthralled by a magical feline with nine lives?
The villain did not stand a chance!
Wendy Beauchamp has ensured a lively direction, including all the well-loved elements, that pushes the tale at an energetic pace but still allows her young cast every opportunity to explore their characters.
Opening the show were the two fairy characters, Priscilla the good, played by Wendy Beauchamp, and Pernicia the bad, played by Bridget Graves, two real performers both giving their characters dynamic personas with some entertaining verbal rhyming battles.
Leading the team of villains was Grimgrab the Ogre, played by Rob Miller, with some good stage presence, well assisted by the bumbling "baddies", Jasper and Jethro, played by Anton Hosken and Thomas Monteith respectively, who supplied some entertaining comic repartee.
Lurking in the background was a squad of "killer" rabbits, well led by Catherine Hosken, which delivered an exciting chase scene.
Salvador Towers, as the Royal Page, supplied a charming presence, along with Charliot Miller and Holly Masterton, as Babs and Betty respectively, who brought every ounce of fun to their polished double act.
All pantomimes require a great Dame and Stuart Perry, as Queen Wendy, was highly effective assisted by Bevan Bisley, as King Wally. A very good duet was sung by these two.
Hero of our story Fletcher Masterton, as Jack, could not have played his role any better and gaining his true love Princess Esmerelda, played by Libby Whitten, was a just reward.
Both supplied stage charm and very good singing voices as did Temara Randell as the famous cat, Puss'n Boots. A flamboyant swashing buckling performance was delivered assisted by a graceful and expressive Mime Puss.
There were some lovely characters amongst the ensemble with the biggest smiles coming from the smallest and youngest performers.
Choreography by Ellie Beauchamp was well devised to suit the mixed abilities and the cast did justice to her talent and dedication.
Choral direction was under the control of Charliot Miller and she is to be congratulated for the energy and clear diction, no mean feat with such a range of voices.
Professional bright costumes, a clever set along with sound and lighting created the wonderful atmosphere that added energy to this production.
Beauchamp has done her part, the cast has put in the hard yards, tradition never goes out of favour, the only thing left is for the audience to enjoy and I am sure this show will appeal to both young and old.