Norman Robbins takes his audience back to Nursery-rhyme Land for this lively pantomime of adventure, comedy and magic with all the traditional favourites: the good Fairy Harmony, Georgie Porgie, old King Cole and his scatty Queen Mattiwilda, Dame Sprightly and her son Tom, who rescues the Princess from the naughty Knave of Hearts and his not-so-naughty villains Buckett and Spade. The fun-packed action alternates between simple settings and lane-cloth scenes and helpful production notes are included in the text to ensure a successful, light-hearted, seasonal entertainment that will appeal to all age groups.
The production of this pantomime is a pretty straightforward affair, and should present no great problems to experienced societies. For the benefit of others, however, perhaps the following notes will be of assistance.
All the scenes are full or lane-cloth scenes, one following the other. This gives a smooth flow to the action, for there should be little or no delay between scenes. Remember, the longer these changes are, the faster you lose your audiences' concentration.
The same reasoning applies to the dialogue. Keep it crisp and well paced. Not rushed, but most certainly not at a funeral pace.
The Tree of Truth
One of the oldest of our "traditional" pantomime gags, having almost as many variations as the tree has branches. Firstly the "fruit" must be large enough to recognize from the back of the theatre. Our apples were painted beachballs and trimming. If you can't manage apples, any other fruit or nut will work. Tennis balls painted orange (tangerines), plastic lemons, polystyrene coconuts, etc. The large branch that falls is quickly and easily made from wire (chicken or fencing) and covered with old newspaper and flour paste, painted to match the tree, and a few leaves and fruits.
The Sword on the Tree
There are several ways of making the sword appear on cue.
The Herald, or the Pieman, may double as the Captain or Grendelgorm.
The music used in the show
Over the past few years I've had many letters asking me what music I used in my original productions, so, for guidance only, I have prepared a list of the music for this pantomime which is obtainable from me, c/o Samuel French Ltd. Remember though, it may not be suitable for your singers and some may be out of print (local libraries can be of great help in obtaining vocal scores). Also, please remember to contact the Performing Right Society before any published music is used in your production. This is for your own protection.
The Knave of Hearts
Kitty Fisher, a village girl
Jack Horner, her beau
Tom Sprightly, the Piper's son
Dame Sprightly, his mother
The Lord Chamberlain
Georgie Porgie, the Dame's reluctant sweetheart
Buckett, Spade, two not so villainous villains
Old King Cole, the King of Hearts
Queen Mattiwilda, the Queen of Hearts
The Ship's Captain
Grendelgorm, the Guardian of the Sword
Chorus of Villagers, Fayreground Vendors, Circus People, Courtiers, Soldiers, Sailors, Spirits of the Island, Chefs and Serving-wenches
For Hannah Elizabeth.