Birds of a feather pull together

FOR a show of community spirit, you can’t beat the residents of Tupton.

Dozens of them have sacrificed their precious spare time to make costumes, paint scenery, rehearse dance routines and learn songs.

Six months of hard graft was put to the test at the weekend at the launch of the village panto, Ferdinand the Ugly Duckling.

The first performance on Saturday afternoon was eventful. One young dancer came a cropper, the king’s bed collapsed, there were missed cues and forgotten lines but the mishaps provided opportunity for quick-thinking ad-libs from Kirstie Wardlow and Jono Dickens.

On the plus side there were plenty of praiseworthy performances from the likes of Angela Hickey as Flanders the Blind Beggar, who narrated the piece, Kirstie Wardlow as King Philip of Swandovia, Daniella Mulvey as Penny Goodridge, Michelle Bedford as Henrietta Drake and Zaylie Crowe, in the role of Old Lady, whose Dreams song was the high spot of the musical numbers.

Sharing the lead role, Spencer Graham brought an air of vulnerability and sensitive singing to his role of the young Ugly Duckling while Nathanial Hall gave a confident performance as The Ugly Duckling in man and adult swan forms.

There were some delightful performances from the kids, personal favourite being the French frogs Freddie and Lilley Pad, played by Ellie Hall and Jodie Quigley.

Adults Les Crowe and Mick Hall showed versatility by playing poachers, crows and bikers, aided and abetted by Chris Dickens, Cameron Price and Jordan Allen.

The young dancers got the audience clapping from the start with their zumba piece and the well-drilled troupe’s energy and spirit was still burning bright at the finale.

Peter Lacey wrote, directed and produced the panto, which was a clever variation on the Ugly Duckling story complete with royal family, led by King Philip, sweethearts William and Kate and a swan named Queen Sophie.

The second half of the panto thrust the lead character into the London Olympics, where he won gold three times but was sent home in disgrace after failing a drugs test.

Ferdinand the Ugly Duckling will be flying again at Tupton Village Hall on Saturday, March 10, with performances at 3pm and 7pm.

GAY BOLTON