After a hectic festive period the Bloomfield family settled down for another pantomime treat at the YMCA Theatre, and there was a surprise on the cards for yours truly.
Over the years we have regularly taken our girls to the YMCA Theatre, and they have usually loved it, but on this occasion it seemed our youngest, who is nearly two years old, preferred to be down in the entrance area looking at Christmas decorations and trees rather than settling down to the entertainment on stage.
This is a shame, as, after a slowish start, the action came thick and fast - especially once the beanstalk had emerged just before the interval, and she would have loved the numerous song and dance routines in the second period - as would her mother, who ended up spending an hour in the theatre foyer and then the car park.
The surprise that I mentioned earlier on came in the form of Dame Trot. As I was a fair way back from the stage I could not see clearly, but I had a feeling that I had seen this person before, but in very different circumstances.
Then, upon looking at the programme notes it all fell into place, as the actor behind the Dame is none other than football referee and former police officer Mick O’ Brien! I had the pleasure of many conversations on the pitch with Mick, most of them in good humour of course as I was a player who rarely entered the ref’s notebook, and his humour was clear to see in a very jolly portrayal of the Dame in this panto.
Jasper Hill made a cracking job of portraying Jack, who was keen to help his dear old mum Dame Trot and woo Princess Jasmine, played by Chloe Whitehouse, who belted out some top-notch songs.
Twelve-year-old Sadie Robinson, as the Fairy, also showed the audience her first-class singing voice, while the younger members of the crowd were kept giggling by the silly antics of Jethro (Jamie Hill), King Frederick (Alex Cormack), the hard of hearing Queen Gladioli (Juliette Scarborough), as well as Major Roadworks (Mark Palmer) and his sidekick Private Access (Matty Hopkins), while the dastardly giant (Craig Drewery), with assistance from henchman Fleshcreep (Alex Boreham) seemed to have great fun as the villains.
So, if you are wanting to keep the youngsters entertained during the school holidays, the YMCA is a good option for some good old-fashioned panto fun.
The panto is showing at the YMCA until Saturday, at 2pm each day apart from Saturday, which also has a 7.30pm show.