Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

Denton Variety Club – 2023

"Camelot the Panto"

Performed of the 16th, 17th and 18th February.

After a two-year, Covid enforced, gap it was great to be back to our normal routine.
For the first time a professionally produced script was purchased. This included many traditional panto themes and worked very well.

The Poster


The Programme

This year's programme, which includes the cast list and a synopsis of the story, can be seen -

The Review

by Oldstager

I am pleased to present a review of “Camelot the Panto” presented by Denton Variety Club at Denton Village Hall on 16th February 2023, the first of three nights of performance.

“Please be kind” one of the cast asked me after seeing the opening night performance. There was no reason to be anything other than kind. I do not have a name and reputation like Michael Billious.

DVC has a history of providing wholesome, enjoyable entertainment to its audience and performed by people who thoroughly enjoy all the hard work that goes into creating it. This year, following extended periods of panto-less activity due to covid and lock-downs, the club decided to perform a panto traditionally written (author – Ben Crocker) with a few adaptations from local panto enthusiasts, Denise and Peter Grant.

It was a good choice, because it gave the players a wide variety of characters to play and of fulfilling all the standard ingredients that traditional panto demands: goodies, baddies, hero, heroine, dotty magicians and spooky spirits, “it’s behind you” and “oh, no it isn’t”. It was a good opportunity, too, to provide the making of plenty of colourful costumes.

Stage lighting was effectively cooler this year by the provision of LED bulbs, reducing the onstage heat that prior companies have had to endure. Also new was the use of amplified sound; one or more microphones in the vicinity of the stage to aid voice projection to the back of the hall. The drawback to sound amplification on this occasion was that we were made very aware of footfalls of the company’s movements and the thumps and bangs behind the curtain as scene-changing took place. All of it was something like the rumble of thunder.

Let me bring attention early to the “orchestra pit” at Denton Village Hall and its band of musicians. A glance at the programme which accompanies this review will supply all the naming you need to know, but I want to bring a note of special praise for this group of village residents who sit huddled in the corner below downstage left and supply us with the joy that music brings. After the cast have received the plaudits from an audience at the end of each show they turn our attention to the ‘band’, and how deserving it is then that they receive our thanks for all their concentrated hard work.

The songs in “Camelot” did not come ready-made with the script and certainly not from the well-known film and theatre show. No, the musical numbers all had to be drawn from a vast list of known and unknown songs by inspiration of what might suit moments within the drama. Whether this was done by one person or by a small committee I am unaware, but my appreciation is felt because it happened, and it was easy to recognise from the faces of the performing company that joy and fulfilment was shared by them too.

Stephen Barrett directed this show, and he should be proud that he has drawn together all the separate elements of production into a successful whole. It has never been easy to manage scenes which contain a lot of characters on the small Denton stage, but Stephen seems largely to have managed it very well, bringing to the fore those characters who need to be seen and heard and not letting those with smaller roles become lost in the background. Small roles are important where teamwork is needed, and teamwork demands that audience attention should be directed to the right spot on the stage at the right time.

Stephen organised our attention very well, but I have to confess that part of my enjoyment was secretly increased by turning my attention on to those members of the cast I know personally and spotting what they were “up to”. Nothing detrimental I am pleased to report; just fun to watch.

This version of the Camelot story centred around an arranged marriage to be actioned between King Uther’s son, Arthur, and Guinevere, a princess of renowned beauty. Neither is entirely looking forward to the occasion as they have never met before, but Cupid’s arrow manages to do its work in making the couple deeply interested in each other. However, bad magic is around and Guinevere is kidnapped and whisked away by a gang of NO-GOOD-doers so that she could be forced into a marriage with the King of the Tangled Wood. He is, we are informed, a BAD character, apparently ruled by his control-freak mother, Mavis, and managed by the sorceress Morgan-Le-Fay who wants to bring crashing down the happy community that is Camelot. One cannot help aligning in one’s mind these desires with some more serious actions in today’s real world, several hundred miles east of our own Camelot !

By the way ‘Mavis’ can be another name for that early morning, excellent songster, the thrush, and I should put into the balance that I have known some fine, kind people called Mavis.

After a certain amount of ‘seek and ye shall find’ and comic goings-on in a spooky ‘hotel’, our hero and heroine, both played with confidence and aplomb, are brought together in time-honoured fashion for a happy ending; an ending which includes, too, reformation of our “baddies” to find the happier side of life. Any resemblance of the Camelot with which you are familiar to that which has been shown at Denton is purely coincidental.

It would be wrong of me to single out any particular actor for praise for his/her performance, because I could see that all the cast were performing with commitment and enthusiasm, and love. The sort of love and fun that can be found in working together to present an entertainment which one wishes to share.

I would like to thank all the contributors, both old and young, for providing an evening of entertainment that was so thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. “Be bold. Be brave” and you can do anything.


A small selection of those kindly provided by Mark Richards and Steve Barrett.

Morgan meets Merlin -
Teddy - Don't! -
True Affection -
Isn't He Tall -
The Creatures (Sorry Rosemary) -
500 or 1,000 Miles to go? -
Evil Sisters -
Three in a Bed -
The Haunting -
One down, two to go -
She's Asleep - What Next? -
Kiss Needed -
The Abduction, Where's Garlon? -
All's Well that Ends Well -
Teddy speaks at last -
And, most important of all, the back-stage crew and the orchestra. -
Plus, of course, the Director -
Well done everybody!

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