On a day when storms battered Berwickshire, Duns Opera sent a wave of festive cheer over an enthusiastic audience at the Volunteer Hall.
Having already had one night to hone ‘Snow White & the Magic Mirror’ the cast of all ages looked like they were brimming with confidence and determined to entertain.
And that they most certainly did.
Duns Operatic Society pantos are always the best when it comes to giving proceedings a real local feel and for me that was ‘Snow White’s’ real trump card.
Ears would have been burning at Farne Salmon, Costcutters and Duns Rotary as various Berwickshire faces and places were name checked. ‘The Berwickshire News’ even got an outing!
The Berwickshire backdrop to the evening’s action helped to add to the warmth that was already there by the bucket load thanks to the performances of those on stage.
It’s hard to believe Amy Clark is only 15 as like last year when she took the lead in ‘Cinderella’, she never faltered with her lines, took command of the script and eased her way through vocal numbers that would surely stretch more mature voices.
Amy’s shining moments for me were two songs taken from Disney’s ‘Enchanted’ - her solo number ‘Happy Little Working Song’ and the second her duet with Ashleigh Wright as Prince Florian.
Ashleigh was last seen as doe eyed and cutesy Sandy in ‘Grease’ but she manned up to follow panto tradition as principal boy. Her stature and demeanour changed accordingly but her fine voice was as it was when she was tackling the likes of ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ in the summer.
Ashleigh impressed with every one of her songs and although maybe not a familiar one for the audience it was ‘In This Life’ that fully showcased her vocal capabilities and pulled on the heart strings.
A few of the ‘Grease’ cast were on a roll, none more so than Arran Robertson Kane who emerged from the T Birds fold to be a real panto star.
As the wicked queen’s henchman Hagar, the audience weren’t immediately on side with Arran but his comic timing, fantastic facial expressions and boundless energy quickly established him as a crowd favourite.
Magic Mirror, Patrick Watson certainly didn’t put in a transparent performance, and was one fifth of an all male dance troupe which gave Duns its very own Dreamboys for ‘It’s Raining Men’.
The seven dwarves, although sharing the stage all made sure their own personas shone through. Emma Hay, Hannah Hay, Scarlett Hardy, Emily Drewery, Lynn Gray, DC and Sara Thomas were the Opera’s ‘Magnificent Seven’.
Wicked Queens are a staple of any fairy tale and Rick Mondeau’s Maleficent was determined there wouldn’t be any happy ending.
Outfits that screamed ‘I mean business’, an unnerving stage presence and an acid tongue made the queen a force to be reckoned with.
As the ‘South Pacific’ standard goes- there is “nothing like a dame” and as well as doing a fine job as producer Euan McIver upped the glamour ante once again as Nurse Nora.
The outfits were as imaginative as the script and Nora’s tour de force ‘Last Dance’ was to coin Sharon Osbourne’s favourite word- ‘fabulous’.
Adding to the warm, cosy panto glow of ‘Snow White’ was a touching finale of ‘Because its Christmas’ which gave a nod to the season and the show’s fantastic junior chorus who looked thrilled to bits to be taking centre stage.
A fine panto brought to life by all ages and enjoyed by all ages.
Snow White: Amy Clark
The Magic Mirror: Patrick Watson
The Wicked Queen: Rick Mondeau
Nurse Nora: Euan McIver
Hagar: Arran Robertson Kane
Prince Florian: Ashleigh Wright
Gallus: Emma Hay
Crabbit: Hannah Hay
Beamer: Emily Drewery
Wabbit: Scarlett Hardy
Clarty: Lynn Gray
Glaikit: Sara Thomas
Junior Chorus: Sophie Aitchison, Fiona Hardy, Amy Kenneally, William Leuty, Jade Longstaff, Rory Myatt, Jamie Renton, Chloe Scott, Sophie Scott, Rhiannon Smith, Alisha Sullivan, Jessica Taylor, Sophie Wood, Beth Weir
Adult Chorus: Erica Don, Rachel Gray, Josh Herbert, Rebekah Herbert, John Hope, Katie Liddell,
Cheyenne Lothian, Jack Sanderson, Sarah Scott, Katie Short, April Lea Taylor, Euan Taylor, Thomas Taylor, Emily Wilson
Singers: Siobhan Herbert, Catherine Nicol, Angela Watney