Wild West adventure in pantomime land with Brackley Players

Brackley Players rehearsals for Calamity Jane - The Panto.  Shows El Gwapo and his gang of Mexican bandits. From left, El Gwapo (Scott Saffrey), Manuel (Lynn Fox), Pedro (Phoebe Sharps) and Julio (Martin Warner)

Brackley Players rehearsals for Calamity Jane - The Panto. Shows El Gwapo and his gang of Mexican bandits. From left, El Gwapo (Scott Saffrey), Manuel (Lynn Fox), Pedro (Phoebe Sharps) and Julio (Martin Warner)

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If you like your pantomimes a little out of the ordinary you should enjoy Calamity Jane - The Panto. Whilst the show has all the traditional elements beloved of British pantoland - audience participation, goodies, baddies and a handsome hero - it is obviously not one of the usual stories.

So that makes it all the more refreshing and interesting. And as someone who has been involved in a production of this particular panto, I can promise it really is an hilarious story and a fun show with characters including Candy Barr, Clint Westwood, Chief Talking Bull and The Milky Bar Kid.

Brackley Players present their version at Magdalen College School in Waynflete Avenue, Brackley from Thursday January 28 through to Saturday 30 and tickets (£8 and £6) are on sale now from Davies and Partners in Brackley Market Square or call 01280 701501.

The story centres around Calamity Jane who travels to the old Mid West in search of her long lost nephew and an expected inheritance.

But instead of making her fortune, she ends up being kidnapped by an inept band of Mexican Bandits who are working for an Indian called Geronimo. He wants to drive the paleface from the land and plans to start by wiping out the citizens of Silver Creek. To this end he enlists Mexican bandits to kidnap Candy Barr, owner of the only saloon in town, to try and lure the townsfolk into a trap. Unfortunately they end up kidnapping Calamity by mistake. Geronimo also plans to unseat Chief Talking Bull, lover of the fast-food hi-tech world of the paleface and declare all out war. But an unlikely alliance between the disillusioned bandits, the outlaws Angelina and Jolie and Texas Ranger Clint Westwood, ultimately defeats him.

Director Keith Fraser said: “It isn’t easy finding a good pantomime script, so I was pleased when I discovered this one. Firstly, it is something a bit different and secondly it allowed me the freedom to get as many people on stage as I could.”

There are plenty of opportunities for cheering, booing, hissing and laughter as the panto brings forth deeds of heroism and skulduggery, mistaken identity, romance, comedy, songs and dance.

The shows take place at 7.30pm on Thursday January 28 and Friday 29 with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 30 (there is no evening performance on the Saturday).

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