Lowestoft Players 50th Anniversary Halloween special: Villains
- Credit: Archant
Fifty years' worth of Lowestoft Players shows have seen a plethora of evil schemers tread the boards at the company's various venues.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.