LCB panto review

A PACKED Little Common Community Centre rocking with laughter reinforced just how popular pantomime is in Bexhill on Saturday.

The LCB Player's, 'Dick Turpin' played to a full house for the second time that day in its final performance.

And with plenty of slapstick, songs and one-liners, the play deserved its success.

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Although slow to warm up, by the time the second act kicked-in the audience had got into the swing of things with enthusiastic bellows of, "Oh no she isn't!" and, "He's behind you!" ringing through the hall.

The key to any good pantomime is that the performers and audience are having a good time.

In this case the actors were enjoying themselves so much they took time out to ad-lib with the audience and share a joke or two.

Once or twice things did get the better of them, leading to fits of corpsing, but the crowd hardly cared.

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For the record, the plot saw Dick Turpin try to clear his name (or her name. This is panto after all!) after being set-up by an impostor.

Along the way he falls in love with Caroline and is supported by a wacky and wonderful cast of characters.

Stand-out was Sally Gander who, as Dame Dollop, had a dress sense more suited to an Elton John birthday ball and enough gags, some of which the kids may or may not have got, to last the full two-and-a-bit hours of the performance.

Darren Ford clearly had a great time playing the villain of the piece, the mysterious 'Mr X' - in nowhere else but pantomime can you cackle with such gusto, insult children with impunity and throw obscure Star Wars quotes into sword fights.

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Yet more comic relief came in the shape of Gil James as the simple Billy Bumpkin, Elsie Wright and Basil Ludkin as the incompetent coppers Nick and Nab, Graham Payne's outrageous fop Lord Lotaloot and Dick Coomber's deaf and squiffy judge.

Lyn Ford screamed and entertained in equal measure as Katie Cuddlesome, Jenny Taylor and Sam Staveley ably supported Mr X's evil work as Smash and Grab, while Natalie Smith and Kim Anley got themselves inside the costume of the kids' favourite Daisy the Cow.

The mainly 'straight' roles of Dick and Caroline were charmingly handled by Ruth Crompton and Jac Young.

A company of dancers from the East Sussex School of Performing Arts added a professional gloss to proceedings.

Director Gwyneth Ludkin was suitably thrilled by the public response to the feel good family show.

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