This page has all productions from 2002-. Obviously as I write this in 2002 there is just the one but it does represent a major change with the production side of things. Whether anyone actually noticed any difference is probably a moot point since the group largely directs itself.
The major change on the production side was that Hilary decided to hang up her monacle, megaphone and fake German accent and give up the stressful job of producing/directing. So when the hour of need was upon us, there was only one man to call.
There was only one man available. Me.
So after a short email exchange that ended with the implied reality of 'if I didn't do it then it probably wouldn't happen', I accepted the challenge.
Once I was "in charge", the first task was to find a script that was suitable for the group and would have enough of a difference for me to direct. As luck would have it, a recent edition of Frenches had a script called The White Cat by Norman Robbins. It was well written, extremely funny in places and had a good number of sections that would come across very well including an ultraviolet scene, a tree of truth with a good pay-off and a female villain. It was also pretty much unknown, not being one of the stock pantomime stories.
The story tells of three princes and their search for The Golden Net. This net turns out to be love so the story turns to whichever of the princes can return with their true love. Interwoven is an evil queen's attempts to find a hidden princess; a princess that is magically transformed into a white cat up until the last moment when she is revealed in all her beauty.
Cast wise, for certain areas I wanted to make some changes, in particular I wanted Sue T, our Principal boy of many performances to play the villain and she revelled in it basking in the green light with over the top performances. The gap as the handsome Prince Peerless was filled admirably by Kate and both she and Vikki as Princess Rosamund looked very much the part of romantic leads without going anywhere near sickly sweet.
We had a couple of returnees in Sue G and Catherine and paired together they made an excellent couple of daft princes and although Hilary had managed to escape the stress of directing, she was still required on stage; and a fine king she made. Due to the loss of me as a speaking role actor, Ken had to remain in his dresses and Martin had to go back to playing hte fool although it was something that he hadn't done for four years.
Once again we had an excellent collection of costumes and sets and Rod's props just keep getting better. His tree of truth was a design masterpiece especially when fully loaded! One final mention should be made of the chorus who were expertly managed by Kate who, in addition to learning all her principal boy lines, worked on all the choreography.
And what of your's truly? Well aside from the direction I did a bit of back stage stuff for the first time in my life and actually quite enjoyed it. The UV scene was quite an experience as Sally, Rod, Carole and I blindly stumbled around wearing black tights on our heads and hoods with small grills. I also was on stage in a more visible role as Peglegasus the Horse. It was a one person costume to act in, but definitely a two person one to put on (and take off). Operated by using crutches on the front arms it was very effective, once I got used to the movement, but excruciatingly hot under the lights.
Still I've come round full circle in that I started off at Sessay in an animal costume and I'll finish in one!
One final mention should be made of the accompanying photographs. These are ones that I took myself and are not all that good. The second collection are video captures from Act 1 with thanks to Harry. I'll add ones from Act 2 when I get them and I will also be updating the group's official web site at some stage.