17 May 1996

Welsh Snow White takes the top pantomime spot

"ENTERTAINMENT this afternoon has been at its best," said Vivienne Price who, with Michael Meer, had the task of judging the final of the national pantomime competition at the Festival Theatre, Paignton.

First to take the stage was Kirklinton YFC, Cumbria, the northern semi-final winner, with Babes in the Wood which, Ms Price said, "Had bags of oomph from the moment the panto opened." She commended Dame Maxidrawers (Ian Thompson) for athleticism while the Babes (Vicky Batey and Suzanne Abbott) were "an absolute delight".

Robin Hood featured in Kirklintons production and was the star of the following one: Robin Hood (subtitled Real Men Wear Tights) presented by Kent young farmers.

The judges congratulated Kent federation, the southern semi-final winner, on writing their own script, for an extraordinarily good and original story, on their three-dimensional scenery and exceptional special effects. They also enjoyed the strong characters of Rasta Tuck (David Gwillam) and the Dame (David Colban) and the appearance of Batman (James Golton) at the end.

The third production was from Brecknock federation. It was Builth Wells YFCs Snow White and the Eleven Dwarfs, winner of the Wales semi-final. This carried the audience from the strong opening chorus to the walk down and ended to a standing ovation.

Judge Michael Meer congratulated this team too for writing their own script and for the effective running gags.

"Billy, you had us in your hand, sir," he said of the huntsman son of Dame Sissy Coughdrop. Ceri Beavan, who played this part, received the award for the most promising actor, while the award for the most promising actress went to Janet Healey for her portrayal of the Scarlet Queen.

He commended Snow White and the Prince "who even handled the sloppy scenes well", the witches quartet and the dwarfs. Each dwarf was an individual character and they were so cleverly dressed that you didnt notice trailing lower legs.

The NFU Mutual cup was awarded to Builth Wells YFC, Kirklinton YFC was runner-up and Kent federation third.

The 11 dwarfs take a bath in Builth Wells production of Snow White (See next weeks FARMERS WEEKLY for pictures from all three pantomimes.)

Janet Healey, stepmother to Snow White in Builth Wells pantomime, was the most promising actress.