Rumpelstiltskin, review: Spotlight Players, December 6-8, St Mary’s Church Hall, Hampden Park

The Spotlight Players in Rumpelstiltskin
The Spotlight Players in Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin – what’s in a name? The Spotlight Players’ panto choice this year centred on the nefarious schemes of the eponymous character, and how he was thwarted, but only just!

The two royal guards, Cower (Katie Wootton) and Cringe (Jenine Leathers), got into quite a muddle trying to remember his name. But the royal baby, Jasper, was saved from being seized by Rumpelstiltskin – part of the deal that his mother, Queen Millie (Rebecca Hunt), made when she had to spin straw into gold.

The central character, a difficult part combining both evil and pathos, was superbly played by Matthew Gould whose intricate costume (courtesy of Beryl Attwood and Sylvia Atkins) reflected the complexity of the role.

Madam Millie (Di Lace) and her companion Teddy ‘Two Sails’ (Hazel Gausden) provided comic relief, leaving Ben Russell to play the wicked Sir Rupert with panache.

There were some topical innuendoes as when Sir Rupert kept putting the taxes up for his own coffers, rather than those of King Richard (Sam Christie), whose subjects then rebelled. There were also two apprentices, Sid Kick (Sharon Bignell) and Joe King (Katie Hunt).

Barry Parks surpassed himself; as well as some magnificent sets, he also made a real spinning wheel.

There were many catchy numbers. Wendy Hammond at the piano and her musical team Hall Duangnil and Kevin Hammond were up to their usual high standard. Director and choreographer Natasha Gardener and her assistant Jackie Bignell must have been proud of their cast and helpers too.

At the end, Jackie was able to present a cheque for £1,250 to Gerry Howitt, CEO of the chosen charity for 2019, the Beachy Head Chaplaincy.

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Eastbourne entertainment listings, Friday to Thursday, December 13-19. Click here to read more.

Eastbourne entertainment listings, Friday to Thursday, December 13-19. Click here to read more.