Nothing Like a Dame


20th, 21st and 22nd of January 2011

Heacham’s ‘Dame’ was just delicious

I was especially delighted that along with Watlington and Downham I had been invited back to Heacham for their 2011 offering “Nothing Like A Dame”.

It was of great interest to me that once I got home from the impressive public hall in Heacham and looked over my notes from the last two visits, I found myself wanting to make the same comments I made on those previous occasions and they all centre around the fact that this was (above all else) a pantomime by the community for the community and frankly once you have acknowledged that it is just about impossibte to find fault with anything that was presented.

What was presented on this particular Friday night was an in-house composition that centered around a growing crisis caused by the kidnapping of pantomime dames resulting in the closure of shows around the country and allowing organised crime (not that organised as it turned out) to buy up theatres cheap.

A novel concept you will agree and one that had been well thought out by writer Jim Race.

As usual it was executed by a cast of thousands and they all did a great job. This was truly an ensemble piece and so individual comments seem inappropriate but I will just mention just a few.

Poppy Hawkins was solid as “on the spot reporter” Mo Bile and her on-stage partner Warren Marshall did a nice job as CNN (Completely No News) anchorman Ivor Story.

Jan Curtis was magnificent as Go Compare which was a completely irrelevant and surreal concept but made me laugh inexplicably every time she came on.

There was some excellent characterizations by Josh Chilvers and Ben Parr as Damette’s 44C and 48DD and Janet Fuller and Jeannie Tooley were hilarious as bad guy lackeys Mac Aroni and Mini Stroni (AKA The Pasta Brothers).

I enloyed Jim Racs as Fat Man and was again blown away by the stage presence and comic timing of Alex Kendal as Bobbin even if he didn’t have that much to do this year.

This 2011 offering (in keeping with the previous two I had seen) was held tighlly in place by the extremely talented Gary Pearce as Dame Maude. Another wonderful characterisation from a man who is both physically and mentally sharp on stage and has a warmth that you could toast a marshmallow on.

As I mentioned earlier it is impossible to criticise this group but the lack of backing music on all but one of the songs left me a little perplexed. Congratulations to director Peter Everingham and everyone involved with this uplifting production.

Stephen Hayter