Staincross Methodist Church Drama Group's annual pantomime went down a treat, with an ingenious plot providing a new twist to the age-old story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears; all the cast performing extremely well; and wonderfully enthusiastic audiences on both evenings-especially the many children who were present.
On top of that a record sum of more than £1,400 was raised, with £500 going to the British Heart Foundation ; £500 to Staincross Methodist Church; and £250 to the newly-formed Messy Church. The 3 youngest members of the cast – The Thompson sisters, Grace and Phoebe, and Daisy Lodge – were an absolute delight, especially when tugging at the heart strings singing 'Me and My Teddy Bear' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'.
Eve Lodge displayed a natural talent in the title role, and Cousin Claire Lodge, who has appeared in all 11 pantomimes, gave her usual polished performance as her suitor, Prince Edward.
Every pantomime has to have a 'baddie', and here it was Ursa, a scheming sorcerer plotting the downfall of the reigning King and Queen, and Ray Taylor, initially ingratiating and subsequently mercilessly evil in the role, drew the inevitable boos and hisses from the audience.
Sally Andrews, as Fairy Honeydew, was the perfect antidote, providing literally well-versed in countering Ursa's magic and making sure that, as always in panto-land, good triumphs over evil.
The fun and laughter was provided by Glen Monaghan and Chris Lodge as Dame Dolly Dimple and her assistant Jake, a comedy duo who have a wonderful rapport, and here they were better than ever. King Rupert and Queen Theodora were regally portrayed by brother and sister Keith Lodge and Sheila Monaghan, who, along with Princess Winifred (Daisy Lodge) were bewitched by Ursa and changed into bears.
The cast was completed by Peter Balfour and Chris Dand as Godfrey, advisor to the King, and the royal footman, Nicolas.
The 'behind you' sketch elicited the usual enthusiastic response from the audience while the 'If I were not in Pantomime' routine brought the house down on both nights.
Sheila Lodge was responsible for the ingenious script and she also directed. Keith Lodge was producer and Jenny Squires the pianist.