Last Saturday night was not only the final of Strictly Come Dancing, but also the last night of the Moorland Merrymaker’s 2011 pantomime, Treasure Island, at Leusden village hall. Their pantomime is a great Dartmoor institution and sells out very quickly.
It is a great, village hall pantomime with lots of local jokes and banter. “About as much use as a National Park Ranger without a Landrover” was one line that got a good reaction, not least from the National Park Ranger, who has a Land Rover, in the audience. The regular dame is a farmer who handles heckling, minor mishaps and other unexpected events with aplomb. This is all the more remarkable as he has a pronounced stammer normally, but not a trace of it on stage.
This year there was a scene that involved the dame having a water pistol and quite a lot of water hitting the audience. Word had got out about this and another farmer had come prepared with an umbrella and two animal syringes filled with water, “to fight back”. I was unfortunate enought to be sitting next to him!
At the end of the evening, after the end of run speeches we all stood for ” God save the Queen”. If nothing else it is a good way of making sure the audience are all standing up when the house lights come on. Whilst we had been enjoying the panto the temperature had been dropping outside, so the wet, steep concrete path down to the road had frozen nicely. My daughter said it looked like the march of the penguins as we all edged our way cautiously back to our cars. The trip home was a lot slower than the trip there with one or two slippy-slidey moments on the ungritted roads.