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Lowestoft Players 50th Anniversary Halloween special: Villains

PUBLISHED: 11:17 27 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:33 27 October 2017

Fungicide the Bad in the 2015 production of Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Harriet Chambers

Fungicide the Bad in the 2015 production of Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Harriet Chambers

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Fifty years’ worth of Lowestoft Players shows have seen a plethora of evil schemers tread the boards at the company’s various venues.

Avril Randall as Evil Edna - green hair, bluish skin, spots, warts, talons and all - in Jack and the Beanstalk in 1986. Picture: Stephen Wilson Avril Randall as Evil Edna - green hair, bluish skin, spots, warts, talons and all - in Jack and the Beanstalk in 1986. Picture: Stephen Wilson

In addition to their award-winning dames, the inclusion of striking and formidable villains has evolved over the decades to become a Players speciality.

Avril Randall’s portrayal of Evil Edna in Jack and the Beanstalk (1986) goes down in Players 
history as a perfect example of a classic witch. Sporting green hair, bluish skin, spots, warts, talons and all, her costume adheres to the kind of image that we might expect from a menacing enchantress.

Judi Wheaton-Mars as Sorceress of the Forest in Robin Hood Prince of Sherwood, 2011. Picture: Courtesy of Judi Wheaten-Mars Judi Wheaton-Mars as Sorceress of the Forest in Robin Hood Prince of Sherwood, 2011. Picture: Courtesy of Judi Wheaten-Mars

As the years progressed the ingenuity of ideas and outfits continued to grow, especially since the millennium. An appropriately green and scary Sorceress of the Forest was expertly played in 2011 by Judi Wheaton-Mars, who waved her skull-tipped wand as she swept across the stage

Then came Lauren Nevill’s masterful depiction of the Evil Fairy Atrocia in the 2013 performance of Sleeping Beauty, for which assistant director Harriet Chambers oversaw the design of the costume, feather headdress and another skull wand.

The original costume design for the Evil Fairy Atrocia in Sleeping Beauty, 2013. Picture: Harriet Chambers The original costume design for the Evil Fairy Atrocia in Sleeping Beauty, 2013. Picture: Harriet Chambers

Harriet Chambers herself put in some evil time as Fungicide the Bad in Beauty and the Beast, 2015, putting the wind up the Fairy Jazzle (played by Ellie Ashby) along the way.

In 2016, a frighteningly Machiavellian Queen Rat was played by Deanne Dickson who, if the back-stage image is anything to go by, studied the works of Thomas Cromwell for further hints on dastardly deeds.

Deanne Dickson revising evil deeds as Queen Rat in an offstage moment from Dick Whittington and the Pirate Adventure, 2016. Picture: Stephen Wilson Deanne Dickson revising evil deeds as Queen Rat in an offstage moment from Dick Whittington and the Pirate Adventure, 2016. Picture: Stephen Wilson

And who could ignore the performance from Dayna Williams earlier this year, who effused elegant malice as the Evil Evilina. The programme notes for the 2017 Snow White show explain that, in the original Grimm fairy tale, the wicked Queen is invited to Snow White’s wedding, before being forced to wear red hot iron slippers and dance to her death. So, as usual, good has its ways of triumphing over evil.

Just as their first was in 1969, the Players’ 50th pantomime will be Cinderella and is set to be staged at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre from January 20 to 28, 2018.

Dayna Williams as the malign Evilina in Snow White, 2017. Picture: Stephen Wilson Dayna Williams as the malign Evilina in Snow White, 2017. Picture: Stephen Wilson

An in-depth look at 50 years of the Players will be available in the upcoming book, ‘The Lowestoft Players at 50: An illustrated History’, due out by Christmas.

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