Grantham Dramatic Society are fast becoming experts when it comes to comic portrayals of Europeans, with last year’s production of ‘Allo ‘Allo followed by this amusing adaptation of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, based on the 1976 film.
At the forefront of the action, a caper across the continent with settings in Paris, London, Bavaria, Munich and Rome, is the brilliantly idiotic Inspector Clouseau, played with aplomb (although he would say apl-oww-mb) by Steve Sale.
Plenty of laughs are to be had during the show (both on and off stage thanks to a canister of ‘nitrous oxide’) and Tony Lane demonstrated why he was cast as the villain with his cackling performance as Inspector Dreyfus, Clouseau’s former boss turned scheming sociopath.
Several moments of physical comedy were particularly successful, such as the unique fighting style of the Inspector’s chinese manservant Cato, the stomping tango involving a butler-come-drag queen (a literally towering turn by Paul Meakin) and a running gag with a hunchback disguse which whenever it appeared was sure to get the audience chuckling.
Using an eclectic mix of costumes and accents the cast of 24 took on 42 characters, and their slapstick humour was aided by some inventive props, most notably a flashing and spinning ‘doomsday weapon’, which of course had a central place in the plans of the deranged Dreyfus.
The plot remained largely faithful to the film, and for fans of the cartoon spin-off pink panthers were also present and cleverly incorporated as dancers and stage hands.
All in all it was a fun evening for the audience and quite clearly for the cast too, and you’re certain to be humming that famously catchy themetune on the way home.
Tickets for the performances at The Guildhall Arts Centre tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, all starting at 7.30pm, cost £9 each or £8 for concessions, with a group discount of £1 off per ticket when 8 or more full price tickets are booked together.
To book in advance call the box office on 01476 406158 or go online at www.guildhallartscentre.com
For more information about Grantham Dramatic Society and how to get involved, visit their website www.granthamdramaticsociety.co.uk