Dracula and Frankenstein meet up in panto!

Panto fun
Panto fun

Dracula, Frankenstein and the cast of St Trinian’s come together in a traditional panto with an hilarious twist.

Frankenstein the Family Panto by David Swan comes to the stage courtesy of Lancing Repertory Players, with performances in Lancing parish hall theatre from January 18-20.

Linsay Oliver, Mark Oliver and Phil Martin are the co-directors, with musical direction from James Aylward. “The author wrote it in the 80s, judging by the references in the script which we have updated,” says Linsay. “It has got Dracula and his granny in it, and Frankenstein is the hero. He gets bitten by Granula’s false teeth, and when Professor Crackpot brings him back to life, he becomes Frankenstein.

“I really wanted to do The Young Frankenstein as a show, but they have just started it up in London, making it into a stage show, so we were never going to get the rights. But somebody then mentioned Frankenstein the Panto. I found the script and gave it a read-through and I wanted to do it. It’s quite a big cast. There are 16 of us and eight in the band, and then we have got 17 dancers. There are three of us directing. My husband Mark is an illustrator and artist, and he has taken responsibility for the set. Phil has taken responsibility for the costume and props, and I have done all the choreography.”

It has been quite a challenge, but everyone is loving it.

“First you have got to get a great cast and audition and cast the right people. We had a really good turn-out for the auditions and the energy was really high. And then you have got to work out how you are going to stage it. You have got to think about the different places, the tavern and the bedroom and so on and how you are going to do them.

“We rehearsed first all the songs and dances and then we started blocking the text at the beginning of November. The props and costumes were a challenge! You are trying to create a Dracula and a Frankenstein who are not too scary!”

Linsay added: “We always do a panto every year in January, and it is always well supported. Of all our shows, this is the one that sells the easiest. People just want to have a laugh, and maybe it is a bit of a nice New Year boost.

“The company is doing really well. We have had new members join us, partly due to the awards that we won last year, three awards at the Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Awards. We have certainly used it to promote ourselves and encourage people to join. I think it has been a nice factor for us.”

The cast are: Herr Pumpernickel - Mark Oliver; Frau Pumpernickel – Linsay Oliver; Frankie – Ruben Pol; Heidi – Kellie Aylward; Kodak - Steven Knopf; Buckles – Derek Ost; Prince Ludwig – Jamie Crow; Prof Crackpot – Phil Martin; Nellie – Karen Franklin; Bridget – Jenny Thompson; Mabel – Mercedes Cook; Agnes – Carolyn Cumber; Constance Swot – Louise Woollard; Ethel – Kim Martin; Count Dracula – Stevie Lambert; and Granula – Carol Clark. Performances are at Lancing parish hall theatre. Tickets are available from www.lancingrep.co.uk.