Panto in a pandemic: Show goes on as director transforms into dame

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

A feature of a traditional pantomime is that, before the curtain falls, there will be a transformation scene.

For KD Theatre Productions and the gala evening audience, the transformation happened before the curtain rose when director and co-author Daniel Bell had to step into the leading role of Nurse O'Dear for the indisposed Ely favourite Terry Gauci.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

Daniel Bell is one of the best panto dames in the professional theatre, but a very different in style to Terry Gauci (think Danny la Rue compared with Les Dawson).

Just sorting out his wardrobe alone is a major task at short notice and then the cast has to adapt.

But the show must go on - and it certainly did.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

The small cast were superb, full of energy and it was a wonderful evening.

Terry Burns, another Ely favourite and a real pro performer, held everything together as King Key, aided if that is the right word by the ebullient David McNair as Presto providing much of the physical comedy.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

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Leah Pinney was a magnificent villain as Carabosse while Ashley Standland as Prince Harry and local girl Ellie Bovingdon as Princess Aurora looked, sang and danced splendidly to provide the storyline and romance.

Complimented by the energetic dancing of Ashley Waliis and Esme Whitfield and backed by the young cast everything flew along at a cracking pace thanks to Katherine Hickmott's choreography and the tight direction.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

Technically the show sounded and looked good with Jack Breeze as MD and Lewis Dunmore on percussion and gorgeous lighting by Gregory Jordan.

There are some laugh-out-loud scenes, particularly one with bells and another with babies, beautiful sets and costumes.

The Winter Wonderland is quite magical and something for the whole family to enjoy.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

Let's hope that good houses will be able to watch safely and there is a full run, for this is a joyous celebration of panto.

And now I want to see Terry Gauci as Nurse O'Dear - two Dames? Twice the fun.

The pantomime runs until Friday December 31. Book tickets online.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16.

KD Theatre perform their Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Maltings in Ely on December 16. - Credit: MIKE ROUSE