Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

Denton Variety Club – 2024

"Space Wars"

Performed of the 22nd, 23rd and 24th February.

For the second time a professionally produced script was purchased. This included several traditional panto themes and worked well.

The Poster

This year's poster can be seen - HERE.

The Programme

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

The Cast And Crew


  • Stella Leapyear - Denise Grant
  • Buzz Leapyear - Chris Hutton
  • Barf Raider - Peter Grant
  • Captain Berk - Caroline Guthrie
  • Smock - Gill Hipwell
  • Princess Lilo - Beth Spaul
  • Flash Jordan - Sam Norfolk
  • C3BO - Karen Wilby
  • RU12 - Caroline Hutton
  • Commander Clanger - Mike Fitzgerald
  • Grabba The Butt - Zoё Brown
  • Dr. Decoy - Terry Hanner
  • Ensign -Alison Wilson
  • Courier - Rosie Hutton
  • Chewbacca - Alex Eley
  • Alexa - Doris Lambert
  • Snotty - Rosemary Gibson
  • Storm Troopers/Comettes - Rosie Hutton, Flossie Hutton, Poppy Norfolk, Doris Lambert


  • Front of House - Chris Whipps
  • Production - Denise and Peter Grant
  • Director - Stephen Barrett
  • Musical Director - Sue Altarelli
  • Keyboard - Ricky Edwards
  • Guitar - Ken Ashton & John Bunting
  • Percussion and other Bits - Sue Altarelli
  • Costume - Denise Grant and Chrissy Kerr
  • Grip Crew - Pio Altarelli, Lucy Hanner, William Cooper, Sarah Richards & Terry Fox
  • Gaffers & Techies- Aaron Cargill & Andrew Guthrie
  • Sets/Chippies - Peter Grant, Andrew Guthrie, Mark Richards & Richard Carden
  • Make Up - Chrissy Kerr & Ali Wilson
  • Props - Barbara Spaul
  • Factotum - Sara Fox
  • Raffle - Kath Hanner
  • Prompt - Jean Whipps
  • Auditorium, Publicity & Box Office - The Box Office Dolly
  • Design - Maggie Parsons
  • Scenery Painting - The Fantastic Denton Art Group (aided by various members of the DVC)
  • Bar-Denton Bowls & Social Club volunteers (special thanks to Dave & Alan)

    The Review

    by Oldstager

    This rarely shown entertainment was performed at the Village Hall by Denton Variety Club (DVC) on 22nd, 23rd, and 24th February with the kind of full commitment by their players which we have come to expect each year. This is achieved not only by all the hard work from those on stage but very much by those committed to work ‘behind the scenes’, and by long hours of preparation and planning. I hope that this review will be accompanied on the Denton village website by a full list of credits given in the printed programme.

    A word or two about the programme. It was a nice, colourful idea to present all the information against a backing of planets in Dark Space, but I found it a little difficult to read all the words in subdued auditorium lighting, and impossible to read the words of the “sing along song” in the darkened auditorium, as we were encouraged from the stage to do during performance. Fortunately the rest of the audience seemed to have no trouble in remembering the words as they must have figured large in part of their earlier lives.

    “Space Wars” was a move away from the usual home-grown pantos of DVC’s past, and was most ably directed by Stephen Barrett. It is a commercially written entertainment and available for purchase and presentation by whoever wishes so to do. The story takes a variety of characters from Sci-fi films, “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, and even the much older “Flash Gordon” (ahh, those halcyon days at Saturday morning pictures !). Most of us grew up with those films, so it was easy for us to identify the lampooned characters in the panto.

    I wish to praise the costume department for all the colour and invention that was presented on Denton’s small stage, and the Art department’s work on the sets. Much effort and time spent ! And much appreciated ! Also it was great to be relieved from hearing heavy footfalls on the stage’s surface. Softer footwear and careful movement reaped rewards.

    I would have liked a more careful balance of enhanced sound. Where I was sitting I was swamped by a loud output of digital sound which overpowered even the combined singing of the cast. Consequently the words of the songs became lost. Nevertheless, the musicians formed a cohesive group that would have honoured any music fest you care to think of.

    I realise it is not always easy to accomplish “ideal” casting, even in the Professional world of Entertainment, but DVC always manages to enlist a cast of willing performers to face all the potential problems and to provide us with “Suspension of Disbelief”. I feel that much of “Space Wars” was composed to include traditional panto characters such as Dame, Silly Billy, etc. and some of the lines and situations demanded that approach. Consequently I personally felt that some of the risqué lines and double-entendres would have softened their potential linguistic offence if they were delivered by more traditional British panto types. I could expand more but it is not my job here to do so.

    To ask actors to perform behind masks and costume hiding all facial expression is demanding. Those members of the cast engaged to do so handled it very well, but I would have liked greater Panto freedom to break the rules and allow me to receive their facial expressions. Even RU12 could have had a “robotic” face appear from time to time under its dustbin-lid cap. Just imagine what Morecombe and Wise would have done with those robots ! The Club’s own two performers gave us much enjoyment with the performance of their antics, and I dare to say that with more rehearsal time they could have had us holding our aching sides with laughter. Talking of which, Snotty getting smashed was hilarious. Alexa, too, was a good fun part of the show, but I think it could have been even funnier if the mechanical oracle could have been imbued with “attitude”. Panto freedom again.

    Where, too, were all the references to Denton Life? We all know that Denton exists in a galaxy far removed from the difficulties that face any normal planet. It’s out there with planet X !

    I carp, but only to encourage more Denton invention. Let the 4th wall disappear more often, whether by design or by accident. We all, on either side of the footlights, become part of something remarkable then. One thing was sure. The audience LOVED the show, and the Variety Club should feel truly gratified to have created such pleasure.

    I have to add one point and that is to say how the singing of “Reach” brought back personal memories when, as Dame (Jack and the Beanstalk, Cheltenham) several light years ago, I was pleased to reach its high note and derive much joy at every performance. Thank you DVC for that. I look forward to the next adventure when DVC will lift-off and go where no man has gone before.


    A selection but many more are available!

    The Backdrops-
    MRx MRx
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