Review by Sarah Everett.

WITH a very small stage and access restricted to just one side, putting on any performance at Combe village hall is difficult.

Panto, with all its twists and turns, is especially challenging but, as usual, Cloverleaf Productions rose to the occasion to present an admirable presentation of Sinbad the Sailor – His 8th Voyage.

The scene was set by Fortuna, played by Maggy Goodall, who discarded the ‘good fairy’ stereotype and performed the role as a homely, northern housewife with an array of domestic utensils as props.

This comfy character was in sharp contrast to her rival, the baddie Evilena, wickedly played by Kelly Boyland, making her debut in a principal part.

Another newcomer to a major role was Helen Rose as Silly Sally, the dame’s daughter. This was not an easy part, but Helen got the right balance of humorous naivety without ever overshadowing the comical character of dame Norma Snickers, played, as ever, with aplomb by Bob Dunn.

The script included all the jokes and amusing references one would expect, especially when Trace (Sue Lloyds) and Snaffle (Dave Goodall), the debt collectors, arrived on the scene.

Norma was courted by Martin Coates as Tinbad the Tailor, while his pals Winbad the Whaler (Martin Wale) and Jinbad the Jailor (John Attree) looked on.

Neil Lane, as the Caliph, was masterful both as a mighty ruler, aided by his Grand Wazir (Richard Roderigo), and as a doting father.

His daughter, Princess Miranda, was played by 13-year-old Abigail Cousins, again making an impressive debut in a principal role.

She was to receive the Persian Pearl of Peace on behalf of the people of Constantinople, presented by Prince Said, charmingly portrayed by Jessie Cobbledick.

A marriage between these two was in the Caliph’s mind, but once Miranda had met Sinbad, returning from his seventh voyage, she had eyes for no-one else.

Cloverleaf’s chorus and dancers were joined for the first time by pupils from the Kelly Leigh School of Dance, who gave a delightful performance of the Hornpipe and joined Evilena for a spooky presentation of Abracadabra.

As usual with Cloverleaf, the musical content of the show was superb with lovely duets and a poignant performance of All I Ask of You by Princess Miranda, Sinbad and Prince Said.

The scenery, painted by John Attree, was excellent, as were all the props, and the costumes were colourful and fitting to the performance.

All in all this was an outstanding show which played to full houses and delighted its audiences every night.