Panto Perfection

Wivenhoe Pantomime

To the William Loveless Hall! [where else?] …on Wednesday evening for the opening night of Monsters Rock, the 2013 production from the Wivenhoe Pantomime Group.

A force of habit almost led to a premature Panto moment and shooting my load at the Congregational Hall. The cast and crew have come an incredibly long way since those fag end of summer early rehearsals just up the road from the Willie H.

Monsters Rock is a unique Made in Wivenhoe experience. You won’t see anything like it anywhere else.


Written and Directed by Sara Rout, the family show is set in the village of Little Happens. The superb scenery may *or may not* resemble some similarities with a certain hyperlocal North Essex estuary setting, but that’s for you to decide, Comrades.

From the show opener of Wake Up Boo [blimey] through to the Blues Brothers happy ending, Monsters Rock runs through the Willie H with enough energy to power a small fictional town.

If this don’t turn you on then you ‘ain’t got no switches.

The story concerns the village people [NO, not *those* Village People, etc] and the Monsters that live on the other side of the enchanted forest.

Der Der Derrr… As one of the many Monsters Rock catchphrases never tires of reminding us.

Never the twain shall meet, that is until lead boy Sam and his bride to be Bella do a runner to escape the evil Boris Blackheart.

If you go down to the woods today…

Deep breath:

You’re in for ahelluva surprise with talking trees, a mummified Yummy Mummy, a werewolf, Frankenstein and his bride, a bonkers lab assistant, a hound, Bones the skeleton, skeleton dancers and a bass playing Dracula.


It is the second half of the show when the two sides do the meet ‘n’ greet that Monsters Rock really comes to life. Monster Mash is most magnificent, allowing each character to introduce their own eerie traits.

Elsewhere in the show and back on the other side there is similar superb acting. Shane Diggens and Zoe Mayhew as the leading pair are perfect for this role. A single show could almost be scripted around their on stage chemistry and singing duets.

Peter McDonagh is genuinely grotesque as Dame Dotty, a ten-ton BONKERS aunt dressed conservatively in the style of a Victorian candy shop.

Don’t fancy yours much, etc.

The alter ego of Lottie to Dotty is equally as, um, seductive.

The jokes come as quick as the scene changes – fast paced and hitting all the right Panto expectations. Tesco burgers were a particular highlight.

The music for Monsters Rock hits all the right Panto punches as well. Joint Musical Directors Nick White and Greg Smith have put together a tight live band that means that you leave the Willie H still singing the songs.

Audience participation is not obligatory, but you find yourself drifting into the role. The Monster Hakka / Macarena was a particular highlight.

Add in the spectacular costumes, and even the addition of glow sticks [gosh] for the audience, and Monsters Rock does more than justice to the Made in Wivenhoe celebratory claims.

THIS IS Wivenhoe Panto Week.

Catch Monsters Rock at the Willie H through until Saturday evening. Tickets should still be available for all performances, apart from the Saturday afternoon matinee.

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