Panto on the crest of a wave

Lindsay Ashmore and Andrea Ryder in Sinbad the Sailor.
Lindsay Ashmore and Andrea Ryder in Sinbad the Sailor.

FEW shows scream family-friendly as much as pantos do…

Finding a formula to satisfy every age group is difficult, especially for amateur companies who don’t have big bucks to blow on special effects or glitzy stage sets.

Yet every January members of Dronfield Light Opera Group work their socks off to give their panto the wow factor which guarantees that families come back year after year.

Their current adventure, Sinbad the Sailor, may not be the best-known panto but that’s not deterring capacity audiences from flocking to Dronfield Civic Hall to see it.

The 40+ crew pull out the stops to ensure that their first voyage of the year is memorable, with comical characterisations, hilarious songs and neat choreography keeping the show on the crest of a wave.

Scene-stealers include a topical Fishy Foot Spa with all manner of marine life lurking in the water and an interpretation of action song “If I Were Not Upon This Ship” in which the eight participants give a masterclass in timing.

It’s the comical characters that make panto and this production maintains that tradition.

Rachel Cooper-Bassett and Julie Ballin out-quiff pop twins Jedward, on whom they model their henchmen characters, and get down with the kids in dancing to Bad Behaviour.

Gavin Ward laps up the laughs in his role as Sinbad’s best friend Mustapha Sickbag, rummaging around in oversized harem pants to retrieve the captain’s cap or being knocked clean off his feet.

David Pierce brings his lovely chatty, eyelash-fluttering style to the role of Dame Peony Poopdeck and even the leads, Lindsay Ashmore as seafaring saviour Sinbad and Andrea Ryder as prima donna princess have humorous songs which make a refreshing change from slushy ballads.

Commanding the boos and hisses as wicked sorceress Halapena is Aida Banfield who proves she’s good at being bad.

There’s a few boarding passes remaining for the last performance of Sinbad the Sailor on Saturday night, but you’d better move quick to get your hands on them.