The Frog Prince

February 2012

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The Frog Prince - by Kei Bailey
Performed - Thurs 16th to Sat 18th February 2012

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm fable, it follows the trials and tribulations of Prince Justin who, when turned into a frog by wicked witch Repugna Coldfinger, tries desperately to reverse the spell by coercing a kiss from the haughty Princess Angelica. Meanwhile Dame Dotty Trotter has problems of her own, as she and her unruly staff attempt to secure a catering contract for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of King Montgomery against rival restaurateur Cordelia Glitch.

Wow, we certainly knew they were back. Boston Playgoers marked their return to the pantomime scene after an absence of ten years with this production of ‘The Frog Prince’ that was so full of energy the large audience found themselves being swept along on a tsunami of mirth.

Kei Bailey’s clever and witty script, specially written for the occasion, provided the capable and enthusiastic cast with a multitude of opportunities to generate laughter which they keenly took up. This was a superb production that had pace, innovation and colour. The players, all of whom delivered marvellous performances, were most appropriately attired and produced wonderful characterisation drawn out by Frances Sabey’s skilful direction.

The very efficient stage crew ensured light and scene changes, sound effects and pyrotechnics were all promptly delivered at the requisite times. Fantastic! Brilliant! Magnificent! All of these superlatives could be used to properly describe this show. Congratulations to all who were involved in providing such fabulous fun – the curtain calls and applause were richly deserved.
Peter Breach, NODA 18/02/2012

Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Dick Whittington - all well-trod staples of traditional pantomime but a not-so-well known tale made its debut at the Boston Blackfriars Arts Centre this week.

A spectacular pantomime full of laughter and outrageous characters, Kei Bailey’s inventive and well-paced script, coupled with Frances Sabey’s direction and Elaine Marshall’s splendid costume design, makes for an engaging and riotous show, the highlight of which is a hilarious ‘Benny Hill’ inspired chase skilfully involving most of the cast.

Kids will love Matt Barnes’s boundless energy and antics, his turn as Prince Justin (and later as the titular Frog) make both characters equally pompous and lovable, and will keep audience members in stitches as the Frog repeatedly harasses Princess Angelica for that all important smooch!

Richard Laight keeps the showing moving with his energetic performance as Dame Dotty and is ably supported by Stephen Bromby and Andrea Townshend, both giving radiant and bouncy performances as the ever-optimistic Jimmy Jams and the lovesick April Showers.

The show’s baddies are on top form, with Lesley Smith and Nick Scarborough providing an endearing double act as Repugna and her anthropomorphic slave Hognog. Rachel Pick and Stuart Bull (as Miss Glitch and Jean-Pierre Flambé respectively) play less malevolent antagonists but still manage to raise their fair share of boos and hisses with their well-timed slapstick and relentless tormenting of Dotty.

As the shows resident royals, Patrick Hall (King Montgomery) and Rachel Rowett (Princess Angelica) gave balanced performances and I was impressed at how they maintained straight composures as all manner of chaos and calamity ensued around them.

Sheila Millington, Pamela Whalley, Katy Tabor and Kim Sands provide some fast laughs and clever word play as an ensemble of shopkeepers, as does Abby Johnson as the scatty Fairy Dewdrop. Her opening speech, songs and interaction with the Frog (and pet ant Graham too!) providing a delightful pause from her adversaries and their skulduggery.

Special mention goes to Stuart Wyle as the outrageously dressed (and spoken) fitness freak Stretch Pilates, providing a scene-stealing cameo guaranteed to bring the house down.
Nathan Hughes 16/02/2012

Actors names on right:

Dame Dotty - Richard Laight
Jimmy-Jams - Stephen Bromby
April Showers - Andrea Townshend
King Montgomery - Patrick Hall
Princess Angelica - Rachel Rowett
Prince Justin/Frog Prince - Matt Barnes
Fairy Dewdrop - Abby Johnson
Repugna Coldfinger - Lesley Smith
Hognog - Nick Scarborough
Mrs Rummidge - Sheila Millington
Mrs Bragg - Pamela Whalley
Miss Belcher - Katy Tabor
Trisha Fisher - Kim Sands
Cordelia Glitch - Rachel Pick
Jean-Pierre Flambe - Stuart Bull
Stretch Pilates - Stuart Wyle

Production Team

Writer - Kei Bailey
Director / Producer - Frances Sabey
Co-Director - Alma Watts
Choreographer - Rachel Pick
Costumes - Dramatic Entrance of Grantham
Stage Manager - Chris Hunt
Props - Alma Watts / Chris Hunt
Sound Design - William Sabey
Sound Operator - Geoff Thompson
Lighting Operator - David Lane
Poster / Programme Design - Liz Worsley, William Sabey, Melissa Marlowe
Set Design - Frances Sabey
Set Production - Chris Hunt, Paul Gibson, Alma Watts, Frances and Joseph Sabey
Stage Crew - Alma Watts, David Edgar, Jacob Moore, Alan Whyte, Gerald Fairweather, John Darnell and Blackfriars crew.
Prosthetics - David Dukes