Haddenham Garden Centre
St Mary's Church
Bernard Hall, Cuddington
By Radley Vickery - 2nd February 2014 7:00pm
Following Raymond Blanc's visit to Haddenham last week, the French flavoured fun continued at the weekend with the Haddenham Players' production of The Three Musketeers, a panto penned by Edward Biddulph.
Alexander Dumas' oft-told tale was given a comic interpretation with lively performances from Susie Smith as D'Artagnan, and Adrian Ripley as the dame, Madam D'Artagnan.
Kim Biddulph directed the production, which played over Friday and Saturday, including a matinee. She also starred as Planchet, driving the tempo of the show along.
The eponymous musketeers and Cardinal Richelieu's guards were played confidently by members of the Haddenham Youth Theatre, including a particularly strong performance by Connor Spence as Athos.
Following panto tradition, the gags had something for everyone, including topical references to the French president and plenty of, 'ow you say, double entendres! And, if, at times, the delivery was not quite on the mark, the cast simply moved on to the next round of jokes.
The panto, hosted this year by Haddenham St Mary's CE School, observed many of the genre's conventions, including a custard pie scene, and several musical numbers. A set-piece in which D'Artagnan worked-out to a Rocky-styled montage was inspired. And one mustn't forget the nicely choreographed mass sword-fight between the musketeers, now joined by D'Artagnan, and Richalieu's guards.
Behind the scenes, it was clear that a lot of effort had been put into the production, with authentic looking costumes, clever props, bright make-up, and a busy front-of-house. The cast should be rightly proud of drawing this year's panto season to an end with such aplomb.
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