Over the Sledge variety show by Honiton Community Theatre Company

A visit to the theatre during the festive season is a wonderfully traditional way to get yourself into the Christmas spirit

Last week Honiton Community Theatre Company provided the perfect prelude to Yuletide with their Over the Sledge variety show.

The group, previously known as Honiton Pantomime Society, have a real depth of talent alongside a completely inclusive ethos, and with the Beehive decked out like a cabaret club, audiences were treated to a colourful, comedic and extremely entertaining vaudeville style production.

The show boasted real variety, with song, dance, poetry and comedy in abundance and, with a supper also provided, made for a wonderfully relaxed social engagement.

Rising star Chloe Pottinger kicked off proceedings, enthralling the cheerful attendees with the opening bars of the Maria Carey Christmas classic ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’.

Pottinger sings like an angel and when joined later in the show by her parents, Lou and Andrew, director Alex Jackson increased the level of Christmas cheer further with a contrastive version of The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’.

The show really showcased Alex Jackson’s vocals with some fabulous stand out numbers including ‘Blue Christmas’, ‘Willkommen’ and the show’s musical highlight, an especially arranged version of The Flying Pickets’ number one a capella hit ‘Only You’ with the ensemble.

The comic aspect is always something Honiton excel at, and within a variety show setting, there is even more licence for laughable larking.

Filled with slightly sordid puns with a very local feel, there were some great sketches including the elves in Santa’s workshop and a hilarious new take on the ‘Twelve Days Of Christmas’.

In between numbers our funny bones wer- en’t left idol either, with some Alas Smith and Jones style commentary and well delivered poems and quips.

There was also a grand standup routine by Joe Robson and some equally amusing dance numbers, first from the Dad’s Disco troupe and then the frankly bizarre Silly Sacks.

The fun filled evening was rounded off with some traditional Christmas carols, which we were all encouraged to join in with and a very welcome mince pie and cream.

Within the show the company allowed us to see some exerts from their next two productions, the pantomime ‘Peter Pan’, which will be performed in February, and Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ which they will perform in the spring.

If the tasters are anything to go by, both shows are likely to be box office winners so booking in advance is a must.

For more details visit their website www.honitonpanto.co.uk

The Company
Shaun Bonetta, Tracey Bonetta, Sandra Bryant, Lydia Capon, Charlie Craig, Lauren Craig, Richard Cregan, Sally Cregan, Jaime Crudge, Aide Harris, Amelia Hibbert, Ryan Hutter, Alex Jackson, Val Lloyd, Richard Maddox, Samantha Maddox, Dave Pickerell, Chloe Pottinger, Sarah Pottinger, Lou Pottinger, Andy Pottinger, Joe Robson, Zara Silitoe, Sarah Wood.

Catering was provided by Grub’s Up, Taunton.

Review by Anders Larsson