A selection of Press Reviews from Past Productions

What the Papers Said ...

CINDERELLA

“…This production is what pantomime is all about, sometimes forgotten in some professional productions, with audience participation in abundance and fun and laughter had by all, not only by the children with their 'boos' and 'behind you shouts', but also with some great one-liners, which had the adults in stitches.”  (Buxton Advertiser)

"...Alan P Frayn’s very funny script stayed true to the traditional Cinderella storyline we all know and love.  The Ugly Sisters had us rolling in the aisles, even as we deplored their wicked selfishness.  Having picked out a hapless victim in the audience, Grizelda flirted with him outrageously throughout the show."  (Spotlight Magazine)

"...The pantomime, Cinderella, written by Alan Frayn, enjoyed a successful run.  There was humour in abundance, of both a more subtle variety for the adults and slapstick for the youngsters, with plenty of audience participation as befits the traditional pantomime."  (Darlington & Stockton Times)

"...Deeside Musical Society had the benefit of a super script and storyline.  The inspired introduction of a couple of cowboy builders trying to repossess Hardship Hall gave the delightful duo a chance to knit the storyline together with comic continuity."  (The Deeside Piper)

"...Thanks are due to Alan P Frayn whose script once again supplied all the elements of a good old-fashioned pantomime and gave the children on stage something to shine at – and those in the audience something to shout at."  (The Berwickshire News)

"...What a treat it was - the best thing was the side-splitting humour from the Ugly Sisters - the lines were fantastic!"  (The Staffordshire Sentinel)

"...West Wickham Pantomime Society performed Cinderella, written by Alan Frayn.  A former entertainment director at Alton Towers, Frayn obviously knows a thing or two about keeping an audience happy.  This is a pleasingly traditional show with no extraneous characters and a lot of good audience participation.  It tells its familiar story well."  (Bromley Times)


JACK & THE BEANSTALK

“…A show clearly written by a panto professional.  For it was Alan Frayn’s well constructed script, the nearest thing you’ll get to a “how to do panto course”, that helped put us all in panto heaven.”   (The Huddersfield Daily Examiner)

"...A lively modern script by Midlands writer, Alan P Frayn, gave many a topical twist to this most traditional of pantomimes ... which played to ten packed houses.  It was the (beans) talk of the town.  The audience left with smiles on their faces and warm comments."  (Shropshire Times)


ALADDIN

"...The company took another well-constructed Alan P Frayn script and made this Aladdin their own.  No-one was spared the jokes, from Gordon Brown to budget airlines.  This was panto that had its roots in tradition but also had a techno edge.  Yes, there was a generous helping of knock-about characters and a baddie we could not resist booing."  (Huddersfield Daily Examiner)

"...A marvellous rendition of Aladdin was staged at Fearby last week – a stunning show, entertaining young and old alike.  The script, by Alan P Frayn, was full of humour and the cast really did justice to this, with some hilarious performances."  (Masham News)

"...Airport workers raise thousands of pounds for charity with a lavish performance of Aladdin at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley.  Alan P Frayn's witty script was packed with jokes ... the action-packed panto was a riot of comedy and colour."  (Gatwick Life)


DICK WHITTINGTON

"…It has all the right ingredients for family fun, including a touch of slapstick and a liberal smattering of jokes that had the audience in stitches.  The scenes are fast-moving and fun, so it was finale time before we knew it.”  (The Bolton News)


ROBINSON CRUSOE & THE PIRATES

"...Based on an original script by Alan P Frayn, this production of Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates by the Polegate Drama Group was pantomime at its finest."   (Eastbourne Herald)

"...This Pirates' pantomime is a treat for all the family ... this season has uncovered a real pearl of a panto in Alan P Frayn's Robinson Crusoe & the Pirates.  The show, performed at the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe last night, was packed full with swashbuckling action, damsels in distress, desert island cannibals and plenty of songs to sing along to.  The characters embark on a journey of madness and mayhem from the plantations of Brazil to the depths of the ocean, on to a desert island and finally back to Brazil in time for Mardi Gras.  Real crowd pleasers of the show included the fabulously titled Senorita Margarita Juicilita as the saucy panto dame after the heart of Captain Seasalt.  Her son, Nutty Nick, and the dim-witted pirates, Cross-bones and Skull-duggery, also helped to make the show a pantomime treat for all the family."  (Felixstowe News)


SLEEPING BEAUTY

"...They chose a good script.  Alan Frayn is one of the funniest writers in the business today and the script was very clever with plenty of gags.  Dame Dottie Dettol picked out one poor fellow in the audience and ribbed him mercilessly throughout the evening.  All in all, it was great fun, providing plenty of chuckles and quite a few moments of wonderment.”  (Spotlight Magazine)

 "...Good quality family entertainment I would guess is the reason behind the everlasting popularity of panto.  And this latest production of Sleeping Beauty has it by the bucketful.  Written by Alan Frayn, the script is original and highly entertaining."  (Brixham News)

“…This was a quick-fire family pantomime – funny, frivolous and as fantastic a frolic as you could find on any professional stage in the UK.”  (Gulf Weekly, Bahrain)

“…This magical panto is fun for all ages … enchanting, entertaining and very funny – this was Alnwick Theatre Club’s latest pantomime.  Sleeping Beauty by Alan Frayn had all the ingredients for this kind of show – audience participation aplenty, jokes and slapstick humour.  There were some good set pieces – in particular, a place name sketch, which was probably the funniest moment of the show.”  (Northumberland Gazette)

"...This was Alan P Frayn's adaptation of the famous fairytale which tells of a beautiful princess who is cursed by an evil Witch ... it was pure comic genius."  (The Bolton News)

"...Along the way there were jokes aplenty and Alan Frayn's script was suitably adaptable to include a wealth of local references and remarks.  There was a real warmth and friendliness about this pantomime that drew the audience members in and made them part of the fun.  It was a truly delightful and entertaining show."  (John O'Groat Journal) 

"...Sleeping Beauty was a roaring success … the panto's scriptwriter, Alan P Frayn, followed the main plot of this much loved fairytale with a few twists and embellishments and many modern and topical jokes."  (Ripon Gazette)


SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS

"...The joys of pantomime came to Newton Poppleford for the first time last week, when the Riverside Players, under the skilful and inspiring direction of Tricia Barclay, gave a first class production of Alan Frayn's well-crafted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, thrilling their enthusiastic and vocal audiences at the Village Hall.  This panto was visually pleasing, full of life and energy with great comedy routines."  (Sidmouth Herald)

“…Northallerton Amateur Variety Company’s pantomimes get better and better and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs by Alan Frayn was the best yet.  There wasn’t a weak part in the show – it was a laugh from beginning to end.”  (Darlington & Stockton Times)

"...We always go for a professional script.  My experience of scripts written locally or by members of the company is not good, and so I like to keep to the tried and tested.  For the past 2 years we've used Alan Frayn of Stage Right Creative (whom the NODA SW Representative for pantomimes believes to be the best script writer for amateur groups in the UK) ... I agree with him.  This year was to be no exception."  (Spotlight Magazine – re Frome Operatic Society)


BEAUTY & THE BEAST

“…This year’s script had all the right ingredients for a good old panto treat.  Plenty of silliness and games with the French language and all the naughtiness you should expect!  But the stand-out quality of the script was in the fantastic double acts it offered – a pair of outrageous beauticians, Marcel and Monique and the good/bad fairies, Flora and Belladonna.  But my favourite duo came in the form of Belle’s riotously hilarious spoilt sisters, who exploded onto the stage in an early scene and provided incredible levels of energy all the way through the performance, keeping me in stitches!”  (The Wargrave News)

"...A script loaded with gags.  This panto was exactly as it should be with local people of varying ages enjoying the experience."  (Southampton Daily Echo) 


ALI BABA & THE FORTY THIEVES

"...The show was an imaginative tour de force from beginning to end.  They were still laughing at the quips and chuckles in Alan Frayn's script as they left the theatre.  There was simply no end to the fun.  Absolutely awesome!"  (The Hayling Islander)

"...Holybourne Theatre Company has been delighting packed houses with a traditional family pantomime.  Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves was a triumph of imagination, quick-witted one-liners and fun."  (The Alton Herald)

"...A new script from Alan Frayn plays down the blood-thirsty elements and with the addition of a comedy Dame and a generous helping of other comedy characters, a creditable panto emerges, which captures the spirit and magical atmosphere of the Far East.  This memorable show contains many unforgettable Turkish delights and is chock full of Eastern promise."  (Cornish Guardian)

"...As a veteran of many years of pantos in Dereham, I've no doubt this was the best I've seen.  The show was packed with energy, sparkle, audience participation, magical special effects and, of course, bucket loads of jokes and puns."  (Dereham & Fakenham Times)


MOTHER GOOSE

“…The Christmas panto Mother Goose, performed by the Wick Players did exactly what it said on the tin.  The show proved to be very entertaining, containing all the traditional ingredients of a pantomime – an outrageous dame, a baddie to shout and hiss at and a fairy to save the day.  Children and adults alike were equally amused.  The traditional story of Mother Goose was given a makeover, but retained the original plot.”  (John O'Groat Journal)


THE SNOW QUEEN

“…This year’s January production by the Peterston Entertainment Society was The Snow Queen, a well know story converted to a pantomime by Alan Frayn.  It proved to be an inspired choice – a show with a really good storyline, lots of opportunities for individuals to display their skills and plenty of fun, including a good array (but not too many) traditional pantomime jokes and japes.”  (Emeritus Director of Royal School of Music for local press)


THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

"...If you've had it up to here with panto and the usual junk on TV, this thrilling seasonal offering is just the ticket.  It has class stamped right through it, imagination, inventiveness and a genuine understanding of what children can absorb and how long they can concentrate.  Some scenes were dramatic, others just fun.  This is a new production devised by Alan Frayn, former Director of Entertainment at Alton Towers ... a heart-warming seasonal success."  (The Newcastle Journal)


ADVENTURE IN PANTOLAND

"...It has brought some long needed glamour and excitement to Torbay in a show that has universal appeal to young and old.  The show fairly romps along, barely pausing for breath.  This slick professional production is the best summer show seen in Torbay for some time."  (The Stage Magazine – re a summer show version of this script)