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2007 - Christmas
Blakeney Players – Blakeney Village Hall
For their post Christmas performance this year Blakeney Players have departed from their tried and trusted formula and instead of the traditional pantomime or musical extravaganza they have opted for a series of ten short Norfolk sketches all cleverly linked together by the presenters of the local television programme “Look Norfolk”.
Despite the absence of several of the regular stalwarts the departure can only be described as a success thanks not only to the talents of the performers but also no fewer than nine scriptwriters, the choreographer, Jane Temple, and the two producers Peter Franklin and Ralph Wiggins. Wiggins and Sue Andrews both give excellent and amusing performances as the two over the top presenters who bear a striking, but unflattering resemblance to two of the region’s best loved television presenters and they are able to ensure that one news item flows easily into the next.
The news items all have a strong local flavour whether it be Blakeney Village Hall where the world short mat bowls championships have to be abandoned as the hall has been double booked for line dancing, gilly catching on Blakeney Quay, a visit to the seals on Blakeney point, or the local post office where the relief post office clerk (Dave Long) struggles to keep up with the demands of a well to do lady customer (Peter Franklin) while a whole range of outrageously dressed locals queue up behind.
There are two very amusing trips back in time, in one of which Nelson is prevented from setting sail because of the attentions of an over zealous Health and Safety Officer and in another Queen Boudicca has to deal with her husband Eddie Burgh and first minister Gordonius Brunus. Dave Long could be Fagin or Bernard as he leads a group of youngsters singing “I am going to pluck a turkey or two”, Gail Woodhouse is a hapless televison reporter who tries to interview the Queen’s oldest gardener and Richard Newton and Janet Harcourt sit on a park bench to enjoy a mardle in the guise of Bert and Maud .
The evening ends in true patriotic style with Steve Benson, who has an excellent voice, leading the cast and audience in a rendition of “Rule Britannia” at Proms in the Park with Holkham Hall in the background.
The Blakeney Players dedicated the production to their former musical director, Mike Curtis, who sadly died towards the end of last year. He would have been pleased with and proud of this original and highly enjoyable performance.