PETER PAN 2020

CAST LIST

SCENES

Peter Pan ............................................... Jordan Ainslie-Rogers 

Tinkerbell ............................................. Herself 


The Darling Household 

Mr Darling ............................................ Alex Neil

Mrs Darling ........................................... Julie McNicholls Vale
Wendy Darling ...................................... Maeve Courtier-Lilley
John Darling ......................................... Harri Gwynn Jones, Ioan Mabbutt, Sam Rolt
Michael Darling .................................... Iestyn Duggan, Owen Jac Roberts, Charlie Longman 

Nana, the Dog ....................................... Joshua Roberts
Nanny Myfanwy .................................... Ioan Guile


The Pirates 

Captain Hook ........................................ Alex Neil

Smiley Smee ......................................... Paul Dark 

Gentleman Smarty ................................ Nick Allen
Fishy Fingers ........................................ Connor Kinsley 

Cecco .................................................... Jac Spowage
Wet Winkle ........................................... Julie McNicholls Vale 

Blue Beard ............................................ Gerwyn Hughes

Hip Hop ................................................ Gruffydd Rhys Evans 


The Indians

Tiger Lily ............................................. Lucille Richards 

Pocahontas ............................................ Elin Rees
Big Chief Little Panther ........................ Joshua Roberts 

Earth Warrior ........................................ Jack Cook

The Crocodile ....................................... David Goffin

The Dancers

Yolanda Baron, Heledd Davies, Abby West, Naomi Thorogood

The Lost Boys
Tootles .................................................. Miriam Llwyd Davies, Harri Lawson, Molly Hughes

Slightly ................................................. Osian Jewell, Steffan Rhys Jones, Iwan Finnigan
Nibs ....................................................... Pranav Krishna, Steffan Dafydd Jones, Rhodri Jenkins 

Nipper ................................................... Sean Bevan, Alex Longman, Rhodri Davies
Noodles ................................................. Aadvick Khare, Alisha Aydogmus, Tobenna Okoro 

Giggles ................................................. Lilly Grace Clement, Danielle Kelly-Honey, Elan Mabbutt

The Indian Braves

Teepees

Madison Vasquez-Brewster, Cari Morgan-Williams, Carys Jenkins, Ellie Benjamin, Hanna Wyn Jones, Tili Adele Hughes, Lily Fox, Nansi Fychan, Nel Rhys Evans, Alaw Medi Beechey

Wigwams

Ella Mair James, Tia Lowe, Tillie Jenkins, Malen Jenkins, Rose Tiddeman, Caitlin Crowley, Amelia Welsby, Kacey Goffin, Catrin Haf, Lowri Mair Jones

 

TECHNICAL CREDITS

Director .................................................. Richard Cheshire
Musical Director .................................... Elinor Powell 

Choreographer ....................................... Helen Jeckells
Assistant Director .................................. Sonia Dobson
Assistant Choreographer ....................... Lorna Lowe
Production Manager ............................... Stephen Griffiths
Stage Manager ....................................... Helena Jones
Deputy Stage Manager ........................... Beth Evans
Assistant Stage Managers ...................... Phil Edwards, Jim Vale 

Onstage Technician ................................ Dyfan Rhys, Luca Tedaldi 

Props Master .......................................... Jim Vale

Props ...................................................... Phil Edwards, Huw Evans, Rob Evans, Alex Gilbey, Helena Jones, Jo Julier, David Moyies

Stage Crew ............................................Phil Edwards, Huw Evans, Rob Evans, Helena Jones, David Moyies, Lucy Pearson, Jim Vale

Flymen ................................................... Mark Thomas, Moses Operandi

Head of Flying ....................................... Phil Edwards

Flying Team ........................................... Phil Edwards, Huw Evans, Rob Evans, Phil Edwards, Jo Julier, David Moyies, Lucy Pearson, Jim Vale

On Stage LX .......................................... Barrie Stott
Lighting and Sound ................................ Keith Ragdale and Ed Costello of Five towns Technical
Sound 2 .................................................. David Goffin
Spot Operators ...................................... Alex Gilbey, Ian McAvoy

Costume Supervision ............................. Bob McIntyre

Wardrobe ............................................... Karen Evans, Jan Newman, Liz McAvoy

Dressers ................................................. Maris Davies, Sylvia Lowe, Ann Tongue

Company Child Protection .................... Barrie Stott, Stephen Griffiths

Children’s Co-ordinator ........................ Maris Davies

Children’s Rehearsal Assistant ............... Tia Goffin

Head Chaperone .................................... Demelza Fish-Jenkins

Arts Centre Technical Team ................... Nick Bache, Maisie Baynham, Pete Lochery, Moses Operandi, Luca Tedaldi

Programme ............................................. Julie McNicholls Vale 

Poster Design ......................................... Saoirse Morgan

Front of House ....................................... Jenny Ward, Vivien Morgan, Rae Cashman, Matthew Piper, Derek Falling, Jenny Fothergill, Helen Jones, Tina Taylor, Sue and Abigail Hales, Lili Rose Ward

Runner ................................................... Donna Clement Richards, Michelle Simms

Set .......................................................... Scenic Projects

Costumes ............................................... Wardens, Leo’s Theatrical Costumiers, Phillip Day 

Fight Choreographer ............................. Tom Sherman

Flying Effects ........................................ Blue Chilli

 

BAND
Keyboards ............................................... Elinor Powell 
Piano ...................................................... Louise Amery
Guitar ..................................................... Llew Evans 
Drums ..................................................... Alex Shad
Trumpet .................................................. Harvey Hassan 
Bass Guitar ............................................ Tim Williams

 

PETER PAN 2020

The annual Wardens’ pantomime at Aberystwyth Arts Centre has, for over three decades, been a bastion of traditional festive entertainment in Ceredigion. For much of that time, particularly during the last decade, the Wardens have attracted and enjoyed capacity crowds and standing ovations, with an extraordinary percentage of tickets being sold almost a full year in advance. This year, I am joined by almost 300 other “Ceredigion Cretins” on a Sunday afternoon, to watch Peter Pan directed, as always, by Theatre Y Werin legend, Richard Cheshire.


There are many things that Cheshire brings to the Panto table apart from his reputation, experience and unrivalled vision, but perhaps the most important is a finger on the pulse of current trends, given his regular employment in professional productions across the UK. This is evident even before we’ve been asked to turn off our mobile phones, with large numbers of the audience either wearing pirate masks, or gleefully waving fairy wands (or doing both in my case – gotta get into the spirit of things right?!) A further example of the modern Panto way is evident at the start of the second half, with several of the characters mingling with the audience and recommencing the action before most of the audience have realised that the interval effectively came to an end several minutes earlier! All of this will not be every purist’s cup of tea but, personally, I have the utmost respect for any company that tries something new in the interests of pushing boundaries – even when that boundary represents bulldozing down any remnants of ‘the fourth wall’!


Reading through the cast list before the opening scene, it is clear that this year is very much one of transition for the Wardens. For a variety of reasons, the line-up does not include Panto stalwarts such as Carl Ryan, Theresa Jones, Marcus Dobson, Jordan Jones and Cheshire himself. In their place, Paul Dark makes his Wardens debut and there are significant ‘promotions’ for Jordan Ainslee-Rogers (who plays Peter Pan) and Lucille Richards, who plays Tiger Lilly. The net result of this personnel change is that the rhythm and hilarity of the show is not at the pace and level of previous years, although Ioan Guile, as ever, is a complete tonic. He works tirelessly and unselfishly as this year’s Dame (Nanny Myfanwy) to entertain the troops, and him dangling as a mermaid, “a fat flippin’ mermaid”, is my highlight of the whole pproduction. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that his on stage chemistry with Cheshire is sorely missed, as is Carl Ryan’s flamboyance and X-Factor, but, having said that, such is the maturity of the performances by the aforementioned youngsters and that of Maeve Courtier-Lilley, that it is clear that the Wardens are investing for the future and this can only be a good thing in the long run.

Speaking of personnel changes, Elinor Powell’s usual ‘all-star’ band is this year missing three of its regular members in Tom Sansbury, Gethin Jones and Rhodri Taylor, with all three undoubtedly busy performing for and with some of the top acts in the country, such is their status as (literally) some of the top musicians in the UK. However, in Llew Evans, Alex Shad, Harvey Hassan and Tim Williams (plus of course the usual tremendous tinkling of Louise Amery), Elinor has clearly put together a very special combination as this year’s completely live sonic accompaniment, is as good as anything I can remember since I started watching the pantomime back in the early 1980s. This is especially evident during the Snowman-esque projection that accompanies the opening flying scene, as Peter and the children make their magical way to Neverland.


With so many regular adult members of the company missing, there is far more participation than usual from the children’s cast – but they do not disappoint. During this particular performance, Iestyn Duggan plays Michael and Ioan Joshua Mabbutt plays John, and both do sterling jobs alongside Maeve Courtier-Lilly as Wendy. Maeve has been the Wardens’ leading lady for the last two years and it’s a shame that the role of Wendy doesn’t really lend itself to letting us hear more of her beautifully distinctive voice. Her performance is, however, typically flawless and she is undoubtedly one of the most important building blocks of a bright Wardens’ future.


The nursery scene where Pan first comes to the window is almost a play within a pantomime and Julie McNicholls is, as ever, instrumental in adding some cohesion to the production with her crucial scene-setting portrayal of Mrs Darling and later, as Wet Winkle the pirate. Alex Neil makes a polished cameo as her husband, Mr Darling…..but more about him later.


Taking the children (and ultimately the audience) to Neverland, is Ainslee-Rogers as Peter Pan himself. Having played smaller roles in previous productions, this was a big opportunity for this likeable young man, and he grabs it with both hands. As I have said in reviews of previous Wardens shows, large percentages of Panto audiences are far more interested in the sillier characters than the lead protagonists but this year, with nonsense levels significantly reduced, our main man very much needs to drive and lead the action, and Ainslee-Rogers does so with aplomb and infectious enthusiasm.


Apart from seasoned and reliable performers Nick Allen (Gentlemen Smarty) and Gerwyn Hughes (Blue Beard), the support cast are a youthful bunch which bodes extremely well for the health of board-treading in Ceredigion. From the Lost Boys to the Indian Braves, from the Dancers to pirates Connor Kinsley (Fishy Fingers) and Jac Spowage (Cecco), the stage is frequently filled with primary school, secondary school, college and University students, and the Wardens should be congratulated on showing such faith in the next generation. The large number of children in the company was arguably renowned choreographer Helen Jeckells’ greatest challenge – but it is also without doubt an indicator of her achievements given the complexity of the routines that the cast, of all ages, execute with gusto, precision and dexterity.


I mentioned Lucille Richards earlier but, her performance is worthy of another mention because in her role of Tiger Lilly, she shoulders significant responsibility and stage time, and her stunning voice is showcased perfectly by her leading a clever arrangement of The Lion Sleeps tonight, ably harmonised by Elin Rees (Pocahontas). The final member of this talented group of youngsters is the versatile Gruffydd Rhys Evans, who injects some welcome humour into every scene in which he features, and his confident leading of the ‘slosh scene’, belies his tender age and the audience appreciate his unbridled commitment to the cause.


As a professional entertainer, the audience are in safe hands with the aforementioned Paul Dark from his first scene to his last, and he thoroughly deserves his ovation at the end of the show. His singing voice is of a quality, volume and richness, that few pantomime-goers across the country will have heard for many a year, and I am sure that we will witness a sequel to this energetic inaugural performance in a Wardens ‘shirt’.


Finally, I must give a special mention to Alex Neil who plays Captain Hook. Actually, that is unfair – because he IS Captain Hook! This is clearly a role that Neil, in his ninth consecutive pantomime, has been waiting for…..and he nails it. He looks the part, he exhibits the perfect balance of dastardliness and vulnerability, and his voice seems to get better every time I hear him. It will be a sad day when he decides to break his unbeaten run, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll be hitting double figures in next year’s production of Dick Whittington, and the Panto will be all the better as a result.


In summary, reviewing the Wardens is far harder than you might think because they have made a cast iron rod for their own backs, by being consistently absolutely bl**dy brilliant! They are an amateur company but do things to a professional level and so does one judge Peter Pan as a community production, or a professional one? Either way, they (and by ‘they’ I mean every single person mentioned in the credits in the programme) are once again, worth every single penny of the ticket price and if the worst criticism I can come up with is that they missed some phenomenally talented, experienced and side-splittingly funny actors, whilst building for the future by giving a host of exceptionally promising local youngsters the chance to shine in front of packed houses night after night…..then I’d say they’re still doing pretty darn well, wouldn’t you?




Reviewed by: Alan Rock

back to the list of reviews

 

PETER PAN 2020

January is supposed to be the most colourless of months. It is certainly brightened this Saturday morning. At 11:20 I am being eyeballed by a crocodile from a couple of metres' distance. This croc is one of four nipping up and down the Aberystwyth aisles and all are armed with water pistols. Mercifully the thin line of water arches over my head to the row behind me. To the delight and squeals of all. 

The Wardens have been at it for a long time now; the proof is in the name. Theatre companies are like others, they thrive only by renewal. There is a refreshed vitality in the 2020 production on four counts. The first is in the casting. Maeve Courtier-Lilley and Jordan Ainslee-Rogers were both reviewed favourably in musicals in the simmer of 2019, in “Oliver” and “Chicago” respectively. They take to the lead roles of Wendy and Peter with charm and charisma. Paul Dark is a new arrival as Mr Smee, the pirate whose heart is not really in it to be bad. Director Richard Cheshire wisely keeps an aspect of his performance under wraps until late in the second act. Then a song medley, that includes “Hey, Big Spender” and “Delilah”, unleashes a voice of richness and power.

As for his audience interchange it is as simple as might be. 

Stage: “Hello, shipmates!”

Auditorium: “Is it you?”

Stage: “No, it's Smee.”

A second innovation is formal. The Wardens have been playing with meta-theatre for a while. In the middle of mayhem Richard Cheshire would lose wig and all to the line of “If my mother could see me now.” A year ago a backcloth would collapse nightly to reveal Jim Vale and team carrying props and looking startled. This year the pirate gang has lost the freedom of resting in the interval. They roam the foyer in character amidst the drinks and the ice-creams. They are in the auditorium on our return and the young audience loves it. It is bold and it works.  

A third is in the wordplay. The scripts cut back some years ago on narrating a string of jokes. The ones that feature have a linguistic vitality to them. A joke links “cherries” to “obituaries.” Captain Hook refers to his nemesis by initials only. Suggestions for the identity of P-P include Postman Pat. “I know”, says one, “Penparcau people!” The Aberystwyth pantomime has always steered clear of innuendo. A joke slips in this year that is below the belt but nice. “You've got a steering wheel in your trousers.” The riposte is pretty funny.  

Lastly, theatre can be the master of new technology, or it can be its servant. “Peter Pan” lends itself to flight, the actors attached to cables. There is a reprise when later Ioan Guile as Nanny Myfanwy flies high or rather deep. The scene is set in the ocean and the character is in disguise as a flailing ungainly mermaid. But for the flight from Darling home to Neverland the production uses some magical video that vaults over a graphically rendered London roofscape. The sequence is accompanied by ringing electric guitar from Llew Evans. 

Llew Evans from Aberystwyth is a long-term member of the band. Now based elsewhere it is tribute to the company that he returns for a demanding winter season. The live nature of the music under Elinor Powell is crucial. It is all too easy to run a backing track but that takes away the dynamism of relationship between musicians and actors. Louise Amery as ever is on keyboards, Tim Williams on bass guitar, Harvey Hassan on trumpet. There is a newcomer in Alex Shad with terrific drum-work. 

The company has stuck to certain principles. Costume and scenery are lavish and colourful. Alex Neill's Hook is all sumptuous dark suedes and leather boots. The company is extensive, reaching into both secondary and primary schools of Ceredigion for participants. At the curtain call 39 humans- and David Goffin's crocodile- take their bow. There are another 10 children who alternate for other performances and the backstage credits number 50-plus. 

Among too many to comprehensively mention are Lucille Richards as a Tiger Lily filled with grace and Elin Rees at her side as Pocahontas. Julie McNicholls Vale gets to show off her fine soprano in a first act solo. One of the pirates is named Hip Hop and Gruffydd Rhys Evans gets the chance to show why. His is a Wardens debut and he will be back. 

A company this size needs a propulsive energy to make it work. Helen Jeckells is choreographer. Within the first 10 minutes Richard Cheshire has ensured we have gone through a gamut of emotions. The audience has sided sorrowfully with Nana at being sentenced to chain and kennel outside. We have turned to a neighbour to one side with the enquiry “Sut mae hi? How are yew?” Then then to the other to say: “Awrigh', thanks for askin'.”

This is a big show with a big pull. It is custom that the second act opens with Ioan Guile mentioning some of the people and groups who are present. He then turns to birthdays. The ages being celebrated run the range from 10 years old to 92.  

Now that is community. 

"Peter Pan" continues until 25th January, returns only.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

 

PETER PAN 2020

http://www.cambrian-news.co.uk/article.cfm?id=132117&headline=Review%3A%20The%20Wardens’%20Peter%20Pan%20at%20Aberystwyth%20Arts%20Centre&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2020

There are plenty of swashbuckling adventures to be had at Aberystwyth Arts Centre at the moment.

Performed by the well-known Wardens, Peter Pan is an escape from reality and a trip to a fantasy land far away full of fun and laughs for all ages.

The Wardens bring to life the classic tale, incorporating modern day references and well-known musical numbers as if they were sprinkling fairy dust.

There are plenty of chances for the audience to help out with events on stage, not to mention the odd joke for a more grown-up audience. 

Mischievous Peter Pan (Jordan Ainslee-Rodgers) flies in early on with fairy Tinkerbell, and central to any Pan performance is Wendy (Maeve Courtier-Lilly). 

Her brothers Michael (Iestyn Duggan) and John (Ioan Joshua Mabbutt) are whisked off to Neverland once their parents Mr Darling (Alex Neil) and Mrs Darling (Julie McNicholls Vale) have gone out for the night, and we also get a glimpse of the wonderful Nanny Myfanwy (Ioan Guile).

A superb performance as a classic panto villain, Alex Neil turns his hand well to fill the boots of everyone’s favourite villainous pirate, Captain Hook. 

He and his crew of charming, bumbling pirates are always one step behind Peter, The Lost Boys and the Braves led by Tiger Lily (Lucille Richards). 

Special mention for the comedic duo of Myfanwy and Smee (Paul Dark). 

The pair become more acquainted as Myfanwy goes undercover (by which I mean goes through several outstandingly outlandish costume changes) and crescendos with the pair running off into the sunset together. 

It would be hard not to mention the barrage of cleaning product puns the pair roll off together in quick fire succession too. I won’t give an exact number, but it exceeds 20 easily. 

This performance has it all; singing, dancing and laughs aplenty. The cast spans all ages and it all fits together like a well-oiled machine, something the Wardens have become known for. 

The show runs until 25 January, but there are limited tickets remaining.

Make sure you’re quick off the mark for the Wardens’ 2021 performance, which will see Dick Whittington drop into Aberystwyth.

by Patrick Hollis

 

WARDENS THEATRE COMPANY LTD

©2019 by Wardens Theatre Company Ltd. Company number 09306136

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