Mayhem and magic combine for spellbinding panto

Just Regional
Feb 16, 2024 3 mins read

Pantomime promises to be a knight to remember in Aylsham as jokes and jousting join forces in a medieval mash-up.

Merlin, The Spellbinding Panto is being staged in the Town Hall from February 23-25 by the Aylsham Players.
The action sees baddie Mordred the Merciless returning to Camelot while King Arthur is away, intent on stealing Excalibur the magic sword and taking over the throne.

Mordred challenges Arthur’s champion Sir Dancelot to a joust to the death. But the hapless Dancelot cries off and is replaced by Chester the Jester aided by his trusty steed Ozzy the Ostrich. But there are also modern twists, with appearances by Lord Sugar and Simon Cowell.

Players chairman Smudge Smith said: “Rehearsals are going well. The cast ages range from people in their 70s to youngsters aged three among the Sutton School of Dance who are doing routines and providing crowd scenes.

“There’s lots of fun plus plenty of local jokes and references. And audience participation is more than encouraged.
“Co-directors Dawn Bradshaw and Sue Smith are out and about sourcing costumes and props from various places and almost all is now in place ready for the show,” he added.

“The whole cast and crew have worked hard to ensure that we have a show that is entertaining and will be enjoyable for the whole family.”

Derek Tomkinson playing Sir Loin

Cast list: Dame Gertie Godiva, Ray Gilding; Chester, Anna Southgate; King Arthur, Ged Sidnell; Lady Guinevere, Erin Bush; Merlin,Tracey Overton; Mordred, Jason Britten; Port, Jess Johns; Cullis, Chloe Ladbrooke; Sir Dancelot, Julie Cushion; Sir Real, Rose Newbrook; Sir Loin, Derek Tomkinson; Madam Sutton, Erin Southgate; Lord Sugar, Mark Voiter; Lab Assistant A, Will Muir; Lab Assistant O, Bonnie Muir; Simon Cowell, Mark Voiter; Ash, Archie Ladbrooke. Chorus: Angela Arscott, Dawn Bradshaw, Sue Smith and members of Sutton School of dancing.

Tickets: Panto tickets (£10 or £8 U-15s) are on sale from members of the Players and at town centre shops Barnwell’s and Creative Lincs. The performances take place at 7.30pm on February 23; 2pm and 7.30pm on February 24 and 2pm on February 25.

Archie Ladbrooke and Erin Bush are Ash and Lady Guinevere.

Aylsham Players are always keen to recruit new members to boost their team – both on and off stage.
They are particularly keen to find more males and people in their 30s and 40s for acting roles, but also those who can help behind the scenes especially in technical areas such as sound and lighting. Anyone interested is encouraged to visit panto rehearsals on Sunday afternoons (from 4pm) at the Town Hall, or visit the Aylsham Players Facebook page. The next planned show is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in the Town Hall from November 1-4 this year.


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