Jenny Quest will be the Forest Queen as the Lavant Players launch into their big January show.
Once Upon a Fairytale is a musical intertwining the plots of several fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.
The show draws its characters from Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast among others, all tied together by an original story involving Belle, her missing father and her quest to find him.
Along the way, she interacts with other storybook characters during her journey, among them Jenny’s Forest Queen.
“We started rehearsals in September, and it has gone really well,” Jenny said. “Lavant is such a good community theatre really. Everybody is involved, and it is such a big team effort from everyone, from front of house to stage building, just everyone. There is always a core of people, but there are also new people, and we have got some of our youngsters that have been with us for five years.”
In all, Jenny reckons there are just under 30 in the cast.
“Belle is in the village dreaming about greater things. It’s a story like Beauty and the Beast, but bringing in lots of other fairy tales as well. The Forest Queen believes she is the prettiest person in the land, but Belle happens to wander by. Belle is dragged in and is going to be locked in the strongest tower in the castle, but because of the inefficient guard, Belle manages to escape. But I am not very nice! It’s a great part you can really escape into. You get on stage and you put your mask on, and you become another person!”
The Forest Queen’s problem is her vanity: “Her beauty is fading with time, and she does not like to admit it. But she realises that Belle is young and beautiful.”
Jenny has been with the company for about 18 years: “I watched my two children doing it, and I thought it looked really good fun. I joined up the following year and (my daughter) Gina is still in it. I always liken it to a team sport. You can’t have anybody in the team that thinks they are the most important person because really what it is all about is teamwork, and that’s the case with Lavant. It is really community theatre at its best. When we finish, everyone is always ready to wash up the cups, put things away, do whatever needs to be done. It is all part and parcel of being part of the team.”
In recent years, the company has started to stage a murder mystery in October, but it is the January post-Christmas show that remains the big one, a huge amount of effort, which explains why they are likely to stick to just the one big show a year.
“It takes a lot of time, and people do have other lives. Most of the people are working full time, and it is a big commitment from September to the end of January. But we enjoy doing it, and we want to give that enjoyment to the audience. We are very well supported. We usually get full houses every night.”
Performances are Wednesday, January 27, to Saturday, January 30, at 7.30pm with a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday, January 30, at Lavant Memorial Hall, Pook Lane, Lavant, PO18 0AH.
Box office 01243 781262.
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