Glastonbury Pantomime: Where it all began…

Having been a member of Wrington Drama Club since 2001, I was keen, nay desperate, to get involved in local thespian activity when I moved to Glastonbury at the end of 2016.

A chance conversation with a friend, over lunch at Rainbow’s End, has led me to Shadow of the Tor Productions, as an actor, and the Glastonbury Town Players as reviewer.

Last night, I was most privileged to watch a rehearsal of the metaphorical offspring produced by an association between these two companies (one a venerable, much-loved institution in Avalon; the other an exciting new birth, laboured over last year and delivered on New Year’s Day 2017) : ‘Dick Whittington comes to Avalon’.

Those living in, and around, Glastonbury have got a veritable smorgasbord of dramatic delectation to look forward to. It ticks all the pantomimic convention’s boxes: The Principal Boy played by a girl; Dames a-plenty; a fusillade of funny catch-phrases; a Punnet of Puns; sly digs at local dignitaries; opportunistic Spoonerisms; enough slapstick to please the most exacting audience member and easily recognisable music to brighten the spirit and cause involuntary tapping of the feet.

It is very much a Glastonbury take on the original story-line. Local references and habits are gently lampooned to excellent effect, the Glastonian soul scrutinised minutely under humour’s most astringent microscope.

I shall be reviewing an actual performance next week, so will refrain from letting any cats out of hessian sacks for now. Suffice it to say, that the show is very funny, at times moving, and the spirit informing the cast convivial, lively and redolent with the spice of genuine talent.

So where did it all begin?

Back at the start of World War One, in 1914, when classical composer, Rutland Boughton, set up The Town Players in an attempt to recreate the operatic success of Bayreuth. This 1914 musical delight became the first Glastonbury Festival. Though very different from the modern Festival – more ‘The Immortal Hour’ than anything written by Bastille! – this genesis of musical inspiration has given rise to one of the most celebrated annual events in the world.

I shall be mentioning cast members, both past and present, in my review of the pantomime. Meanwhile, the show runs from April 4th until April 8th, at Glastonbury’s Assembly Rooms, and tickets can be purchased from Gothic Image.

Do go along if you can! A splendid evening’s entertainment awaits you!


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