South Yorkshire Times February 8 , 1969
You Get Something New in Dearne Pantomime
There is always the difficulty for the producer of one of the old favourites of the pantomime scene of trying to inject some originality into the production.
Most of the audience will usually know the story, but will always be on the lookout for something different. This they get in Dearne Community and Miners’ Welfare Scheme Theatrical Section’s production of “Hansel and Gretel,” being presented at Goldthorpe Welfare Hall this week and next.
I doubt whether the role of Widow Kranky has ever been played in such an entertaining manner as it was played by John O’Connor. For some reason his broad Yorkshire accent did not seem out of place, even for the part of a woman, and much of his wit must surely have been spontaneous.
His impersonation of pop singer Tiny Tim was, for me, the highlight of the evening.
Of the same imaginative vein was Sid Robinson, who, as Willie Scnell proved a most entertaining simpleton, particularly in his drunken scene.
Emily Bradley gave a very polished performance as Hansel, while Margaret Humphries proved to be a charming Gretel.
Shivers Down Spine
It is always essential in pantomime to find a “strong” character for the role of the wicked witch in order to provide a contrast with the many idealistic characters on the stage.
Certainly Janina Stachura gave an excellent performance in this part, her shrill, piercing voice doubtless sending a shiver down the spines of many of the adults in the audience as well as the children.
Kathleen Guest proved to be a very entertaining Heidy and Betty White (Anna) and Fred Dyson (Karl) both gave a good performance.
Other parts were played by Maxine Hendley (Spirit of Pantomime), Jane Harrison (The Blue Bird), John Crossley (Prinz Konrad), Barbara Harrison (Lady Christine), Colin Dyson (Glock), Russell Baker (Speil), Christine Saville (Satan), Maxine Hendley (Snow Queen), Fred Walker (Frederick the King), Elma Platts (Freida the Queen) and Colin Spittle-house (male understudy).