Old Mother Hubbard – Oakworth Methodist Church

THIS YEAR David Howarth takes us to the Wild West for the comedy adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and her family.

As with all Oakworth pantos the scenery and costumes are vibrant and spectacular.

The stage is set quickly and quietly – great visually for each scene, which is then enhanced by the costumes.

From the Land Of Nursery Rhymes’ traditional panto wear, to Cowboys, Indians and saloon girls.

The song choices worked great with the story and were sung beautifully by the cast, and the dances again added to these. Judith Chapman again has given us a variety of different styles of dancing and allowed everyone to shine.

A special mention to the dancing girls who not only tackled a Can Can for the saloon bar scene, but also dance around the totem pole.

Cast-wise, again, everyone had plenty to do and our Friday audience joined in with the ‘hellos’, the ‘oh no you don’t’, ‘oh yes we do’ and the obligatory booing of the baddie, ha, ha, ha.

The Fairy, played charmingly by Ava Clarke, took us through the story and had help from the cute little Sunbeams, who were brilliant in a variety of different disguises.

The first-act comedy came from the bailiffs (Gabriella Hands and Emily Hudson) who threw themselves into the parts trying to evict Mother Hubbard, making us laugh along the way.

In the Wild West, we met a new bunch of friends and enemies, all adding to the story and humour.

One of them was the larger-than-life Indian Chief (Finn Rowlett), with his impressive head dress and booming voice.

We met Miss Lulabelle played by Isabelle Gissing, who appeared to relish the good/bad persona she played, and Peter Harris as the main baddy with his two henchmen Tom Kouunnas and Jake Loughtman, who ensured you got plenty of chance to boo away, and also to chuckle as well.

Scarlett Hale was the principal girl Polly, who sang and danced beautifully and was aided by a strong performance from Natasha Armstrong as principal boy Tex.

Hannah Woollett and Lucy Chester, another comedy duo, not only had chance to make us laugh but also charm us with a couple of duets with Miss Lulabelle and Little Deer (played sweetly by Catherine Burbage-Atter).

Dandy, played by an unrecognisable Scarlett Morris, was the Hubbard’s dog and hero of the panto.

She barked her way through the show and had us shouting “Hello Dandy” when she appeared. A great part and no doubt very draining in a fur costume.

Alfie Dowden as Old Tumbleweed had us all laughing as he tried to chat up Mother Hubbard, and is a braver man than me to keep on slapping any dame on the behind.

The leaves us with Old Mother Hubbard, Nathan Armstrong, who was both effeminate and manly when needed and brought the panto together in the lead role.

I apologise to the lady in front of me for laughing so loud when he appeared in the saloon in a marvellous red corset, but it is an image that will remain with me for a long time.

Over all, another great night showcasing the young talented actors around our local area. Thanks again David, Judith and team.

Phil Smith