Thurso's spectacular Little Mermaid panto wows audiences
THURSO Players' pantomime The Little Mermaid proved to be a splash hit with audiences.
It was a spectacular production with lots of fishy jokes and featuring a talented cast, vibrant set designs and many colourful costumes – giving the production that added Christmas sparkle.
Billed as "a fun-filled, pun-filled traditional panto" suitable for all ages, this adaptation by Warren McWilliams certainly was just that.
The attention to detail was outstanding, keeping the audience entertained throughout.
Before the curtain even went up on the opening night, children were kept amused by the remote-control fish and sharks floating above their heads, while at the end of the evening there was the chance to capture a memento from the performance by joining members of the cast for a snapshot in the photo booth.
It was a real community event with many local youth groups coming along to enjoy the performance, eagerly joining in the audience participation.
And there was no shortage of hands going up for the chance to grab some of the chocolate coins being thrown out into the crowd by Dame Dusty, played by Glyn Jackson, from her booty chest.
Thrilled with her first production of this scale, director Sarah Wilkinson said: "I could not be more delighted with how it is going. It's kind of my dream becoming reality. The audience seems to be loving it."
On the amazing set designs carried out by Fiona Murray and her colleagues, she said: "You could not do it without a fantastic team. You have your ideas and vision and they just create it."
The show opened with a rousing rendition from the cast of the Robbie Williams song Let Me Entertain You which set the scene for things to come.
Taking on the role of Mariel was Maeva Donaldson, who put in a great performance alongside the traditional panto hero Prince Derek, played by Keisha Sutherland.
Keisha, a well-known local musician, was making her debut with the Thurso Players, and she didn't let them down – proving she has a great talent for acting as well as singing.
Helping Mariel along her journey to find her prince charming was Bastian the crab, played by Kane Cameron, who did extremely well to keep up a continuous fast-paced round of jokes and one-liners that kept the audience laughing.
Another romantic storyline was played out by Dame Dusty and Captain Aargh, alias Ali Glen, who made a brilliantly funny double act.
Playing the baddie was Sean MacGregor who took on the persona of Octavia, the evil sea witch, who was met by a round of booing from the audience every time she appeared on stage. Her lair was a spectacular sight, glowing in the dark, and her two lackeys, Corky and Crusty (Julie Kedward and Miriam Nicol), were hilarious.
The backdrops and special effects were incredible with the audience feeling they really were at sea in the scenes on board Captain Aargh's boat as the tide could be seen constantly moving behind the colourful pirate crew.
Mariel's six mermaid sisters also made a splash in the beautiful home under the sea, looking very glamorous in their colourful costumes, and they played their parts well.
Triton, Mariel's father, played by John Glen, was another exuberant character cutting a dash in his bright green outfit.
The panto itself told the story of the little mermaid who wanted to celebrate her birthday by swimming to the surface, while her prince charming had set sail to find his true love.
During a terrible storm at sea, brought on by one of Octavia's spells, Prince Derek is lost over board and Mariel comes to his rescue and sings to him.
However, the evil sea witch comes up with a cunning plan to steal the little mermaid's voice and claim the prince for herself.
In true panto form, everything works out in the end with the baddies foiled and Prince Derek gets down on bended knee to propose to Mariel.
Throughout the performance the audience members were given the chance to join in the fun and are also entertained with a Benny Hill-type chase through the hall and a Baby Shark sing-along.
After the members of the cast took their final bows they still found the energy to finish with a final flurry by singing Shut Up and Dance, which went down a treat.
On the whole the panto had a great mix of contemporary songs as well as Christmas ones, with one of the favourites being All I Want for Christmas is You.
Providing the musical direction was Martin Shepherd, while the producer was Sara Donaldson.
As well as mermaid and pirates, the supporting cast included a royal chorus and various types of sea creatures. All in all a very worthwhile night out.
Well done, Thurso Players!
- The Little Mermaid by Thurso Players ran from Wednesday to Saturday at Thurso High School.