‘Puss in Thongs’ is a pantomime based on the 350-year-old, enduring classic by Charles Perrault ‘Puss in Boots’. It has been adapted into an Australian pantomime by Bundaberg resident, Judith Prior. Being involved in Community Theatre since 1989, Judith started writing short comedy acts for theatre restaurants, she has now completed 40 major scripts.
This fun-filled, family show is being presented by Phoenix Theatre Inc, in the Memorial Hall, 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill; the hour and a half shows commence at 8.00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights until the 30th July with matinées at 2.00 pm on the 16th and 24th July.
The production is supporting Puss in Thongs’ favourite charity, the ‘Cat Haven’ with the profits from raffle ticket and programme sales.
The stage has a bright and colourful, artistically painted backdrop showing fields and a castle. The stage apron has a garden seat and large, attractive rockery (designed and built by Wayne Gale).
The Phoenix regular lighting designer, Alex Coutts-Smith has produced another vibrant display, operated by Jayde Clark. The soundscape was mainly supplied by the copyrighter and operated by Aubrey Cason.
The colourful and unusual costumes are the work of Sheryl Gale and Jaclyn Fogg, with the makeup for the Witch and Puss being by Ryan McNally.
When the local miller dies, his three young sons have to survive the best they can. Instead of sharing the inheritance, the oldest brother, Tom (James Buckland) takes everything, giving his two younger brothers, Dick (Adian Mellor) and Harry (Chris Doney) only $5 each.
With so little money their future looks dim, until Harry meets a talking cat, Puss (Sylvia Mellor). Being a bit of a trickster, Puss talks Harry into going to the local op-shop, run by three deaf and senile ladies, Dora (Valerie Greeves), dotty Doris (Jude St. Clair) and Daisy (Beryl Francis) to buy her some boots and a hat. Puss is much admired by the folk of the village (Katy Cowie, Shelly Cowie).
Puss tells Harry that if they cross the Great Sandy Desert and reach the King’s Palace, The King (Shaun Griffin) will allow Harry to marry his attractive daughter, the Princess (Bernadette Ward). However, on the way they encounter a confused Bunyip (Benjamin Steel) and a strange camel (Adian Mellor, Olivia Goud).
Soon Harry learns that a wicked witch, Winifred (Liana Russell – absolutely glowed), lives nearby and is sure to kill them. Will the witch bring misery? Or will there be a possible marriage?
Directed by Sheryl Gale and assisted by Shaun Griffin, produced a cast who were word perfect, filled with enthusiasm and large smiles. I saw the final rehearsal, but the main members of the cast sang melodiously and had wonderful audience rapport. Puss had a magnificent threatening Meow, and the kids will have the chance to dance with a Bunyip. Alison ‘A.J.’ Kovacs was a most efficient stage manager, with props moving around quickly and silently, and good crowd control of the large cast.
The choreography by Sarah-Rose Kelly, was relatively simple, but this ensured that the whole cast grooved together.
A small warning, the theatre heating is faulty, so come well wrapped up in case it doesn’t work.
This children’s musical is written on one level, for younger children – best age groups from 5 to 12 – without the usual double-entendres for the parents.
Being presented by an all adult cast, the story is easy to follow; there are lots of singalong songs and nursery rhymes that all children will know. So find some kids to use as your excuse to see this latest fun rendering at the Phoenix Theatre.
Lookout for some more great shows lined up including ‘Portraits ‘and ‘The Addams Family’.