By Alice Maxwell, panto first violinist and reviewer.
This year’s Pantomime Peter Pan, produced by Lamlash Drama Club, was an instant success and drew audiences from all over the island. Complete with the usual ‘Oh no it isn’t, It’s behind you’ quips, the show had us howling with laughter, and left us hoarse from all the shouting required of us.
Beneath the hilarity the story line was strangely unsettling – and seemed to focus on the issue of Motherlessness. Peter Pan brings Wendy to Neverland to be mother to the orphaned Lost Boys and Captain Hook stakes a claim on her, saying “A Mother! I need a Mother”. Peter Pan however, has no interest in finding a mother for himself, and has a strong distrust of grown-ups in general, saying “even you if apologise to them [grown-ups], you’ll find you’ve been replaced”.
However, there was plenty of maternal pride within the cast of the show, which, Arran style, was a true family affair. The two self-absorbed mermaids played by Nickey Summer and Jill McKillop were proud mothers of Iona (Peter Pan) and Charlotte (The shadow and Tiger Lily).
Yvonne Wilson (backstage) saw both her offspring in prominent roles – Zara as Wendy, and Ryan as the hilarious pirate Rum.
Elanor McNamara (lighting and set design) is Mum of Rosie (Tinkerbell) and Daisy (Tick Tock the crocodile), not to mention wife of Andy (a Lost Boy).
Ann Curtis (make-up) once again saw her son James in a humorous role – this time as the hapless pirate Coke.
And no Arran Panto could be complete without the Gilmore tribe! Sheila Gilmore (Nana Smee) is aunty to Trevor Helliwell (Indian Chief), and great aunty to Harry Gilmore (John Darling).
The thriving drama scene here on Arran has provided a perfect stage for the youngsters to gain experience. Iona Summer has performed in Arran’s Pantomimes for 8 years, and last year played Liesl in Lamlash Drama Club’s performance of The Sound of Music. She has attended the Royal Conservatoire of Glasgow Summer School of drama and has experience with the Ayrshire theatre companies Gamta and Capall Dorcha. She also plays fiddle and sings in local ceilidh bands. She hopes to study music and drama at university.
Rosie Macnamara says “I loved being Tinkerbell. I think all the late nights were worth it! I hope that next year will be as fun as it was this year”. Her sister Daisy thoroughly enjoyed playing Toodles, the Lost Boy, and Tick Tock, the Crocodile who eats Hook. Her first appearance was in 2013, as a fairy helper to Sheila Gilmore’s Blue Fairy.
Zara Wilson is a familiar face in Arran’s drama festivals and has spent her last 8 summers entertaining on Cruise Ships. She hopes to continue this when she leaves school.
Cousins Harry Gilmore and Annie McKelvie (Michael Darling) were both in The Sound of Music last year (as Kurt and Brigitte) and Harry is performing in Cinderella at the Eastwood Park Theatre in Giffnock this December.
Sheila Gilmore is Arran born and bred – “like a prize heifer” – (her own words!), and has been acting since the age of five. A stalwart of community drama, she has played all manner of roles, including lead parts in The Steamie, and Men Should Weep. She has written an award-winning one act play – Tam’s Tale. A natural comic, Sheila is perfectly at home with ad-libbing and telling bad jokes.
And what of Captain Hook? Since being eaten by the crocodile he is unfortunately unavailable for comment.
The show was directed by wonder-woman Maureen Smith. She joined Lamlash Drama Club in 1978 and after performing in a one-act play for the Drama festival, the club decided to try their hand at panto the following Christmas. They were warned that it would never work, but 39 Pantos later, history has proved otherwise. Maureen started directing in 1985, overseeing numerous shows, including Oklahoma, Fiddler on the roof, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Sound of Music. Maureen says: “I really enjoy seeing it all come together and I seem to be able to see in my mind just how I feel it should be. Maybe I just have a fertile imagination.”
We look forward to many more Christmas pantos and musicals in the future!
Scenes from the panto –
Featured image of Peter Pan and Captain Hook in a sword fight, by Cams Campbell