A tale of two kitties on offer in Hawick Town Hall
Puss in Boots – a Hawick Panto Group production – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 11, 12 & 13, 7pm. Saturday, December 14, 2pm.
It’s panto time in Hawick this week, and if watching felines strut their stuff in fetching footwear is your bag, then this is the show for you.
There’s so much more than that, as well. From the moment six wee fairies dance out of the curtain, followed by a “pretty” fairy in a tutu, with pink hair and a beard, you know this isn’t going to be a normal evening.
With more songs – an eclectic traditional and contemporary mix which keeps kids delirious with dancing along and adults helping by belting out the lyrics – than you can shake a blinding flashbang-producing wand at, it’s all about audience participation.
From the Woolpackers yeehawing through Hillbilly Rock, to the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s astounding.
And the finale, Shut Up and Dance With Me, saw just about everybody up from their seats to dance along with the cast, who were dotted about everywhere in the hall.
There’s the baddies to boo at ... Margaret Moyes as Lady Latreena and Ros Mundell as the child-eating Ogre, both of whom are well worthy of a boo or eleven.
Latreena doesn’t care, she’s just going to laugh in your face. Quite a lot, actually.
The Ogre does seem to be going through a personality crisis as we finally meet her in the latter stages, wearing a frock she believes is from Frozen and ordering food online.
But her plans for the delivery men ensure we don’t have much in the way of sympathy when circumstances, and her gullibility, begin to turn against her.
We turn to the star of the show, our hero and love interest, Colin, played by Kim Jeffrey.
He’s one of three sons of a luckless windmill owner. While his siblings are left the mill and a transport business, poor old Colin is stuck with the family cat.
Jeffrey is a stunningly-good actor, her sense of timing is spot on and is incredibly enthusiastic with it. Her energy keeps the panto hurtling towards its climax.
Colin’s cat Puss (Jessica Graham) changes form, thanks to the aforementioned fairy and the magical boots. She also changes actor as well, as Shonagh Ferguson takes on the role as Puss finds her voice.
She becomes Colin’s fixer in an attempt to help him get the girl, the wealth and, firstly, the clothes.
It is a little uncomfortable, and morally questionable, that all Colin’s good fortune is based on lies, but it’s possibly a good analogy of modern politics.
The main couple she has to lie to are another shining light. The strangely-named Queen Kingdom and King Queendom – played superbly by Catherine Macfarlane and the delightful Charlie Marshall – provide some of the humour behind all the evil and lies, and, of course, provided the other half of the love interest – their daughter, Princess Sancha, played simperingly well by Sophie Hyslop, who seems not at all bothered at the thought of an arranged marriage “as long as he can afford tae pay the bill at Aldi’s”.
But if it’s light relief you want, there’s plenty of that going around.
How about Colin’s hapless siblings, Arnie and Barnie (Erin Hogg and Daniel Drummond) or their mum, Dame Dotty Drawers (Ali Hill).
The trio give their all in their roles, especially Hill, whose sheer number of costume changes rival Beyonce’s.
Hill throws himself into the role of panto dame so well, you can imagine him walking down the High Street with stillettos on, just to get used to them.
With the celebrities just out of the jungle, get ready for the world’s latest comedy double-act, Pant (Zack Mundell) and Spec (Andrew McGillivray).
The duo are absolutely, 100%, unashamedly Hawick in everything they do and say.
Their scenes can make you smile, had the kids roaring with laughter, and were just plain funny.
Perennial performer Mike Webber makes his debut for the group as producer this year and he’s put together a cracking show, alongside assistant producer Lisa Scott.
Choreographer Shelley Brankin ties it all off beautifully in the link sketches between scenes.
The last time the group played Puss in Boots, it’s a good chance half of this week’s audience would have been at the town hall watching it, 31 years ago.
There were plenty of wee mentions of all things Teridom, from the name of the village (Teriville), to the theme song, which goes by the tune of the Hillbilly Rock chorus.
Teries Rock, Teries Roll,
Horses an’ Trishaws an’ cars galore,
Oo’ve no got a train,
At least no’ yet,
But Hawick’s still the best place to be.”
Remember the words and head off down to the town hall tonight, tomorrow or Saturday, or you’ll regret it.
Oh, yes, you will!
Fairy Fifi Farquhar: Stuart Moyes. Pant: Zack Mundell. Spec: Andrew McGillivray. Dame Dotty Drawers: Ali Hill. Arnie: Erin Hogg. Barnie: Daniel Drummond. Colin: Kim Jeffrey. Puss (silent): Jessica Graham. Pat: Catherine Crosbie. Joe: Kathy Webber. Sam: Katy Brown. Chris: Shelley Brankin. Herald: Emily Shaw. King Queendom: Charlie Marshall. Queen Kingdom: Catherine Macfarlane. Princess Sancha: Sophie Hyslop. Lady Latreena: Margaret Moyes. Puss in Boots: Shonagh Ferguson. Ogre: Ros Mundell.
Shelley Brankin, Katie Brown, Catherine Crosbie, Daniel Drummond, Chantelle Frew, Eilidh Garden, Jessica Graham, Erin Hogg, Sophie Hyslop, Michelle Jarvis, Gordon McScotland, Roslyn Mundell, Niamh Scott, Emily Shaw, Kathy Webber, Euan Welsh and fairy dancers Cila Tait, Ruby Watson, Beau Walker, Rylee Domingo, Isla Macpherson and Marley Domingo.