YEOVIL NEWS: Evolution never fails to disappoint with panto magic at the Octagon
AUDIENCES are revelling in the magic and mayhem of pantomime at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil as the story of Dick Whittington is brought to life (writes Yeovil Press editor Steve Sowden).
The panto cast has filled the theatre with a wonderful warm glow of laughter and sunshine over the festive season – although the weather outside has been distinctly chilly.
I have been attending panto at the Octagon for years – ever since my childhood days when it was a traditional Boxing Day trip to the theatre with my family – and it has never failed to disappoint.
Evolution Pantomimes has been producing the Octagon panto for the past decade and they always produce the magic.
The secret to Evolution’s success – in my opinion – is continuity.
Many of the cast members are regular panto performers at the Octagon. You might not necessarily know them to speak to, but you feel as if you do know them – part of the theatre’s panto family.
Some of the jokes and sketches are not new and, in fact, have become well-worn. But they too are now part of the panto furniture and they have almost become in-jokes with panto regulars in the audience.
There is an old adage of “if it’s not broke, why fix it” and that is very much the case for Evolution and the Octagon – it is a great partnership that works year after year.
You might think that seeing the same actors, hearing the same jokes, watching the same sketches would become dull over time – but not in the slightest, quite the opposite in fact because you almost feel as if you are part of the show; knowing what is coming next.
But what is great about Evolution is that they always throw in something extra, that little bit of X-Factor magic to make the crowd go “wow” and children’s eyes light-up with excitement and the roars of laughter, screams of “he’s behind you” and cheers and boos at the goodies and baddies is infectious.
And who does not like a little light-hearted poke of fun at the Weymouth panto?
And it would not be the same if there was not that nervous moment for the gentlemen in the audience at the start of the show where they sit anxiously hoping that they do not become the “love interest” of the panto dame. Congratulations to Darren, by the way, who was the “willing volunteer” at the panto on the evening of December 10.
The Dick Whittington panto at the Octagon might not necessarily take the traditional storyline of the lad who goes to London to earn his fortune with the help of a cat, but – come on – let’s not let that get in the way of a fabulous panto!
Gordon Cooper returns to the Octagon as Dame Dolly – his fifth year in Yeovil; Jack Glanville appears as Billy – for the eighth consecutive year in Yeovil; Thom Bradford, the local lad from down the road at Crewkerne, plays King Rat – his fifth year in Octagon panto; while Fairy Bowbells is played by Kathryn Nash, her third panto in Yeovil.
Daniel Parkinson takes the title role of Dick Whittington, Javana Forrest plays Dick’s love interest Alice Fitzwarren, while talented Yeovil dancer James Bamford appears as Tommy the Cat or, whatever name is chosen for a particular performance!
And among the talented chorus line there is local girl Chloe Burton and it was great to see her proud parents in the audience, beaming with pride, at the show on the evening of December 10.
Congratulations to all involved –it really is a great panto.
Do not miss out on watching this great show – go to www.octagon-theatre.co.uk or phone 01935-422884 for more details.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of the Octagon Theatre.