PANTO always packs ‘em in at The Windmill this time of year, but there’s certain to be even more of a crowd-puller on stage next week.
Although whether that’s a good thing, audiences for the renowned Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society’s annual festive show will have to judge for themselves.
Especially as the charismatic lead character just happens to be The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
The German folk tale has been re-worked by Janet Webb, in her first solo scripting of a panto, although she has co-written two before, with LMCS stalwart Lynne Jones, the show’s producer who also co-directs with Janet.
All is well in the peaceful town of Hamelin until King Rat (Garry Spight) and his sidekicks Scally and Wag (Alexei M. J. Hawkey and Craig Harbor) target the place for a series of raids on food stocks by their army of rodents.
The Mayor (Chris Blanchard-Cooper) recklessly declares that anyone who can rid the town of the rats can claim a reward of 100 Euros and the hand of his daughter Donna (Sophie Shepherd) in marriage.
Harry, the Mayor’s odd job man (Sam Kirkwood), hopes to win the reward – he is deeply in love with the beautiful Donna – but is thwarted by the mysterious Pied Piper (Emma Clothhier), a travelling musician who arrives in Hamelin and succeeds in making the town a rat-free zone. But that, as we know, is not the end of the story.
Helping, and sometimes causing chaos, are Winney the cook (Daryl Jones), Sammy the rather silly gardener (Michelle Ede) and the very officious Mr Snickle, the town clerk (Ian Sheppard).
It wouldn’t be panto without the opportunity for audience interaction, helping Sammy with her drooping sunflower and keeping a look-out for ghosts, especially in the spooky woods.
And naturally, there will be amazing costumes, great music and songs and wonderful dance routines – again, Lynne and Janet collaborated on the choreography, with Janet taking special responsibility for the dancers.
Daniel Paine is not only the musical director but also wrote the music for a new song which opens the show, with words by prolific songwriter Chris Arnold.
Music ranging from The Blues Brothers to Take That will aim to meet all tastes, and Daniel has also produced what promises to be a delightful arrangement of One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful.
Performances are nightly from Wednesday (January 15) to Saturday, at 7.30pm, with matinees on Saturday at 2.30pm and Sunday, 4pm.
Tickets prices are £13, adults and £12, concessions, with an opening night offer for Wednesday of two tickets for £20. Party rates are also available. For tickets, call the LMCS box office on 01903 730775.