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      Tony Parratt reviews  Dick Whittington for the Hinckley Times.                      Two Good Fairies lent extra magic to this super show


At long last panto is back. Oh yes it is! And with a bang, as the award winning Trinity Players took to the stage to present Dick Whittington. But this was a panto with a difference! Why? Well there were two good fairies in this plot - at least later in the run, there were. Linda Smith as Fairy Bow Bella ensured the magic happened in its usual pantoland way, but when talented Grace Conant, who was playing Alice Fitzwarren, became ill midway through a Saturday matinee performance, Shakira Emery stepped into the breach, despite only watching as a spectator the night before, and carried on for the rest of the run. The plucky lass, who luckily is a drama student, coped superbly to carry it off with aplomb, armed only with a script in hand to ease her through. None of this detracted from a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable show, where there were laughs galore, great songs and lively dancing. Sasha Hewins-Kane excelled in her role as Dick, the lad out to make his fortune on the gold paved streets of London, while Janine Conant played her employer Alderman Fitzwarren. The hilarious Mark Deer as Sherry Trifle and Jayden Broomer as his son Jack formed a fine comedic duo, while Francine Gardner was a very believable Shadow, Dick Whittington's cat. Evoking plenty of Boos and hisses was Sefton Winslade as conniving King Rat, aided by his rat pack of Deano (Maureen Quittenton), Sammy (Richard Gurney), Martino (Marnie Michaelis-Parratt) and Junior (Joel Henderson). Steering the whole ship along was Fiona Gurney as Captain Rock Ee and Liz Haigh as First Mate Chips. Adding flavour to it all were Sally Whiston as Salt and Amy Tyrell as Pepper, while bringing in the exotic were Kaye Leadbetter as Sheik Onnit and Joshua Matheson and Charlie Hill as Donna and Shish Kebab respectively. One slight quibble was that at two and a half hours some of the younger members of the audience may have found it a little too long, but in a cast of all ages, everyone had their chance in the spotlight and earned the very well deserved applause they were given.


I still don't know who shot the sheriff, but I had a rooting tooting good time!


Shot in the Rockies review by Tony Parratt for the Hinckley Times.

A ROOTING tooting  ensured that the midsummer mix of songs and sketches performed by the Trinity Players went with a bang.

Shot in the Rockies, a murder mystery set in America's wild west had everything designed to baffle the capacity audience, as  most were left scratching their heads trying to work out who shot the sheriff. But it was all done in the best possible taste , as a mixture of saloon bar owners, tough cattle men - including the man with no name - and travelling news readers informed the crowd at Trinity Hall of their actions.

Featuring most of the regular senior Trinity performers, it was the perfect finale to a packed night of entertainment featuring songs and sketches covering topics as diverse as the travails of budget airline travel to auditioning the leading ladies in a play.

A  particular favourite was Trinity School Nativity where adult members reprised their younger selves and all those cringy moments every parent has experienced when watching their offspring's offerings .

The burning topic of health and safety was tackled in a very over the top way, while The Audition showed us how actors tackle that nerve-racking prospect in very different ways .

The younger members of Trinity where given the task of performing every conceivable panto you can think of in just 15 minutes; and didn't disappoint. Every character you could think of was seamlessly conjured up before our very eyes ,ranging from Cinderella to Idle Jack .

The whole evening was a great family occasion with cast and audience ages ranging from tots to grans and grandads. Compered by the ebullient Andy Johnson it proves that panto can be fun from Christmas to summer.


Tony Parratt reveiws Jack and the Beanstalk for the Hinckley Times.

Panto is a Christmas cracker


All the usual  ingredients for a festive panto were on display as the award winning Trinity Players brought their hilarious production of Jack and the Beanstalk to the stage last week. And leading the laughs as the outrageously blousy Dame Trott was Sefton Winslade, whose cheeky inuendos and sly asides had the audience in stitches. Also adding to the hilarity werethe ever more outrageous costumes and dresses worn as the show went on. And aiding him all the way in the laughter stakes were Matthew Smith and Travis Merry as the Brothers Grimm, who are really evolving into a cracking double-act as they gain more experience and maturity. Youth was really to the fore in many of the principal roles, with Jasmine Merry excellent as Jack Trott, the lad who sells his cow for some beans and her fine singing voice came to the fore in several numbers. Grace Conant matched her in the acting and singing stakesin her role of Lucy, daughter of Baron Tightfist and Jack's love interest. Bruce Grant as the evil Baron soon had the audience booing and hissing his every evil intention to extract ever greater sums of money from his subjects, while Janine Conant as his wife proved his ideal partner.Sometimes even for seasoned panto audiences characters turn up who are not quite what you would expect. And the addition of five brownies who entered the hall at the start of the show and then came in at odd times was to be honest baffling; but most of the audience semmed to accept this, so perhaps it was just me! When Christian Badcoe appeared as Robin Hood it seemed quite acceptable he would be there! Once again, as one of the younger players he showed great potential and was ably supported by Sophie Purcell as Lucy's friend and maid. Sam Hicks as the 'Giant' turned the name on its head, when he appeared, but what he lacked in stature he more than made up for in gravitas and he was a scary 'Giant'. Liz Haigh as Fairy Moonbeam kept proceedings going along, backed by a fine chorus and dancing youngsters, while credit must also be given tothe costumes and scenery changes which were slick and carefully managed. All in all, another top=notch show and a vital Christmas cracker, carefully created under the direction of Andy Johnson.



Murder, mayhem and laughs at group's anniversary stage show

wha hey

A night of murder, mayhem and laughs were the perfect ingrediants for a packed night of entertainment, as Hinckley's Trinity Players celebrated their 30th anniversary in style, writes Tony Parratt. The award-winning group, whose ages range from six to 76, hosted a fun packed revue, with various sketches and playlets illustrating their talents. Deftly compared by Andy Johnson, it was introduced by its founder Linda Smith, who welcomed the packed Trinity Hall. She then went on to feature in "The Art Gallery". Where she led her friend around and commentated on the paintings.But when people wandered into her space, they assumed she was the official guide and took her every comment as expertly based. And as they left, they even left her a healthy tip! But not before several comic moments and exchanges had taken place. Next up was a mini panto, Oh yes it was in flaming June! This was performed by the younger players in Red Hot Cinders, which was a mini version with wicked step sisters and Prince Charming in tow, The audience responded with all the oohs and aaahs and urged along the narrator, who speeded up the action, it proved a real winner. the main event was a three-part murder mystery "Who Killed the Pop Star"? This was set in the mid-80's during the glamour pop period, with twin brothers staring in the hit group Wha-hey! One was talented and moody, who wrote all the songs, while his sibling was good looking, dynamic, charming, but lacking in intelligence and creative abilities. Over a period of time , we meet managers, ex teachers, disgruntled singers who claim they have been ripped off and ex-girlfriends all with an axe to grind. And when Derek Thompson, the creative part of the group is found mauled to death by a tiger in his recording studio, the audience and Detective Leather (Liz Haigh), are left to find the murderer who set the beast free. Needless to say, several clues were missed by most of us, but it was a fascinating riddle well written and acted. Another original and highly entertaining item was "D is for Murder" where every word started with the letter D and was very reminiscent of one of the old Two Ronnies sketches. Along with some well-chosen songs, this celebratory revue demonstrated the whole spectrum of the Players abilities which gave it a lovely community feel, where all ages revelled in a night of good old-fashioned fun.


Trinity Players scoops the

Pantomime Alliance of Leicestershire Blue Balloon

award for best pantomime 2018


The Pantomime Alliance of Leicestershire held its 17th salute to panto on Saturday 24th March 2018 at Winstanley Community College, Braunstone Town Leicester. 19 local amateur dramatic groups from all over Leicestershire were all eagerly contesting the awards. 4 groups including ourselves were performing snippets of our panto on the evening. We were lucky enough to be nominated for 15 out of the 24 awards (which is unheard of) we went on to win 6 of the awards including the coverted Blue Balloon trophy for the best panto 2018, much to all of the cast and crews shock and excitement.


we received nominations for

Front of house - Lynn Bradley

Lighting - operated by Luke Winslade, programmed and designed by Aiden Johnson

Set design - Paul Smith

Costume - Lisa Merry, Marianne Smith and Brenda Frost

Singing - cast

Director - Andy Johnson assisted by Sally Sisson

Magical being - Maureen Quittenton as Fairy Snowdrop

Principal girl - Jasmine Merry as Snow White

Principal boy - Kayleigh Brown as Prince Caspian


the 6 awards we won

Special recognition for most uplifting opening song and santa - Andy Johnson, Lisa Merry

and Richard Bartlam as Santa

Cameo role - Sam Hicks as the white rabbit

Young male performer- Matthew Smith as Muddles

Young female performer - Grace Conant as Casey Dwarf

Comedy act - Travis Merry and Matthew Smith as Igor and Muddles


And then to top it all we won the Blue Balloon trophy for the best panto of the year.

All I can say is what a team!!!

Congratulations and thank you to you all for all your hard work both on and off the stage.

Roll on next year !



There should always be room for a traditional panto

There's something inherently liberating about being able to boo and hiss someone and not feel in the least bit embarassed about it, writes Tony Parrat.

Yes it's panto time again and where better to see it than in the surrounding of a welcoming church hall packed with relatives and friends, familiar with all the heart-warming traditions of the genre.

Trinity Players production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had virtually every generation of actor in it, which really did give it a lovely warm family feel.

But with some great set designs, stunning costumes and inspired musicianship from David Frost, there was nothing remotely amateurish about this Andy Johnson production.

Principal boo target as Queen Elvira was Linda Smith, who certainly earned all the wrath of the audience as she plotted to kill Snow White (Jasmine Merry) and win the hand of Prince Caspian (Kayleigh Brown).

But she was continually thwarted in her plans by a trio of haples, but kind-hearted souls, played by Sefton Winslade as Nurse Nellie, Matthew Smith as Muddles and Travis Merry as Igor.

These three had the crowd in hysterics and Sefton's over the top portrayal as the blousy nurse was hilarious, especially when he singled out one rather unfortunate male member of the audience, who was the target of his saucy entreaties.

Matthew and Travis showed a lot of promise as the two youngsters whose speciality was in the slapstick variety, especially one clever decorating scene where wallpaper and paste were plastered in every direction, except the right one.

Jasmine Merry, taking the title role, proved a fine actress, with a lovely singing voice, who combined perfectly with Kayleigh (Prince Caspian) in their duets.

Maureen Quittentton was all sparkle and magic as Fairy Snowdrop, who took us all into a world of fantasy,and to the home of the Seven Dwarfs, who helped to save Snow White.

And society stalwart John Simpson was a magisterial Lord Chancellor.

The " magnificent seven" were the perfect troupe, providing fun, laughter and sympathy, while also displaying nifty footworkas they burst into song with their trademark Hi Ho as they set off to work.

And credit must also be paid to the many young dancers and singers, who worked their little socks off and provided backing as villagers,ghosts and woodland animals Snow White and her gang , met on their adventures.

Say what you like, there is always room for a traditional panto, especially one where at the end, most of the cast walk off the stage, to be backslapped by their families and friends, for a great show.

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