The hilarious Aquarius panto 'Pico Pan', with the terrifying Captain Hook (played
by Tony Hopkins and parrot) and the rather hairy fairy, Stinkerbell (Rodger Wheeler),
took place on the 14th of January 2011.
Bodgit and Co. (scenery constructors extraordinaire) were first on stage, with their
van still there, finishing the job. A side-splitting scene followed in which Nigel
Knowles attempted to give Captain Hook a 'hand' ['Groan' says the editor]. The set
was amazing. The Victorian playroom was beautifully painted by Mike Baker and had
a real opening and closing window. Nigel built a Wendy House which unexpectedly appeared
from the floor around Wendy (played by Julia Iremonger). There was a real working
cannon which fired party poppers at an unsuspecting Pico Pan (Edmund Morris). All
this brought the pantomime to life.
This year's pantomime included lots of music and songs. Pat Halling played some inspiring
music on his violin with a lot of ingenious improvisation between scenes but the
cast somehow knew and opened the curtains whenever Pat started playing. Pat also
played a beautiful duet with Imogen Morris, one of the club's younger members. They
played 'Flow Gently Sweet Afton' and 'Evening Song'.
Jean Hendra (playing an adorable dog called Ba- Nana), and the stately but sea-weary
Aquarians (played by Mike Hendra and Frank Rainsborough) led the singing with 'How
Much is that Doggie in the Window', 'Leaning on a Lamppost' and 'Home on the Range'.
Jean Hendra was also the make-up artist transforming everyone from everyday folk
to magical Neverlandians.
There were many talented actors in this year's panto. The pirates, acted by the
moustachioed Andrew Morris and the multi-talented Nigel Knowles, told some hilarious
jokes. Julia Iremonger (who played Wendy) charmed everyone with her great memory
for lines and wonderful acting talent. The Darling children were played magnificently
by Dominic and Robbie Lunniss and sang 'We're Walking in the Air' beautifully, alongside
Pico Pan and Wendy. The actors are hoping that next year Bodgit and Co. can fix it
for them to really fly. Kyle Farren and Grace Farren wittily played the concerned
parents (Mr and Mrs Darling). The 'Lost Buoys' were bobbingly acted by Imogen Morris
in full orange regalia, trailing her fellow 'buoys' by a rope. Tiger Lily was beautifully
portrayed by Lydia Iremonger, whom we are looking forward to seeing more of in future
The most creative costume of the evening was that of the crocodile, delightfully
made and portrayed by Anna Iremonger. She captivated the younger members of the audience
seated in the front row whilst everyone sang 'Never Smile at a Crocodile'.
The pantomime wouldn't have been possible without the tireless work of the producer,
and pantomime Dame, Rodger Wheeler. Rodger organised the music, co-ordinated the
meetings, produced a film along with Richard Cannon and, put simply, made everything
Hannah Lunniss's debut as director was an outstanding success. It is no small task
to organise such a motley crew in such a short time. Hannah skillfully brought Imogen
and Edmund's script magically to life.
Despite several computers conspiring against them, Frank Rainsborough and Richard
Cannon produced the programmes and song sheets in double-quick time, creating a beautiful
souvenir for all to treasure.
Most importantly, after all that acting, singing, laughter and applause everyone
got to enjoy Linda Wheeler, Joan Bray and Stuart Schaffer's tasty spread.