Liphook Amateur Productions
LAMPS seems to have a refreshing policy of persuading its younger members to show their full potential on stage, and their production of Santa in Space at Liphook Millennium Hall this year was a good case in point.
Of the principal characters, only four were played by what I might call the more mature actors of the society, the rest being drawn from their youngsters.
This is encouraging both for the future of the club and for amateur dramatics in the area generally, and all credit to Mary Coyte in continuing with it in her first production as director.
At the start of the show we are introduced to Vileun the Vile, the principal Baddie, played by Caroline Stephenson with a younger Astra, her astral visioner, played by Rowan Galtress bedecked in witch's hat and gown.
They are in control of the entire Universe except for one planet, Earth, which they must now capture. To do this, they plan to kidnap Santa and hold him hostage.
Summoning two astronauts, Null and Void (played by Emma Smith and Georgina Hall), the evil gang heads Earthwards for the little town of Merrydale.
Here we find Dame Dangle, played by Kevin Stephenson in a variety of outfits which become more outlandish as the show progresses.
Across the town square lives Professor Atnas. played by Peter Davies sporting a rather seasonal beard, and we learn that he is in fact the eponymous Santa (which is Atnas backwards, get it?).
Among his other pursuits, he has created an android called Andrea, played with commendable deadpan by Helen Coyte, who ultimately becomes saviour of the Universe - but that is getting a little ahead in the story.
Dame Dangle is visited by his provocatively-named, thigh-slapping nephew Dick Daring, played by Chloe Johnson - and at the same time, as luck would have it,
Professor Atnas is visited by an attractive female "helper" from the North Pole, Crystal played by Emily Swatton, who telis him his elves are revolting.
There are no prizes for guessing that Dick and Crystal fall madly in love with each other within a few script pages.
Atnas, alias Santa, is foolishly persuaded to hold a party before leaving for Christmas duties. During this, we see his "magic cupboard" in action, changing a rag doll into a living one, played by Lucy Hill, who dances delightfully for the audience until her spring winds down.
In the meantime, the evil extra-terrestrials have arrived on Earth to commendable sound-effects. They burst in upon the party, hypnotise the earthlings into submission, and take Santa away to the planet of Varbos - far, far away in a distant galaxy ...
Fortunately, Andrea the android still has her marbles about her, and realises that the magic cupboard can also transform an Airfix model of a spaceship into the real thing (are you listening NASA?) - and after the interval, our heroes are seen on the bridge of the starship Enterprise (or something quite similar), boldly going in pursuit of Santa, somewhere in Space.
A piece of terrorism on Vileun's part dumps them in the wilderness of planet Varbos, where they meet The Monster, vamped in style by Dave McGrath. It turns out that he's really the good Prince. - Paragon who used to rule the planet until the Vileun regime took over. He tells them they can get free only by removing the talisman from the neck of the evil one. By using a little deceit, they do this , (hooray), and Santa's magic powers transform the Monster back into a Prince again, (hooray, hooray) - right has triumphed over wrong, and Christmas will not be cancelled. We can all go home happy.
Chorus and other parts were played b' Anne Johnson, Sam MacCuaig, Cassie , Quinn, Lorraine Reevell, Marie Skidmore, Avril Walker, Sylvia Wallis and Brian Upstell.
Children and Varborites were played by Toby Galtress, Shellie Green, Emma & Melanie Henley, Alicia and Claire Lally, Ellie Lawrence, Bethany Locke, Eleanor Munday, Sam McGrath, Jessie Offer, Malaika Oyortney, Jennifer Reevell, Sheri-Louise Skidmore and Jo West.
Musical direction was by Jo Levy, who also tickled the ivories, ably assisted by husband Martin on guitar and Keith
Ireland on percussion.
John Owen (Jo) Smith
Christmas Pantomime 2001 - Santa in Space
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