Babez in the Wood 2023

Babez in the Wood 2023


Doris Dunghill  -  Simon Vines

Princess Pertunia  -  Harriett Jackson

The Queen  -  Vicky Biggs

Harry  -  Dan McCann

Dotty -  Jane Swale

The Spirit of the Wood  -  Ros Tunbridge

James Blondel -  John Hallahan

Adele-Boy -  Theresa Hallahan

Lady Goo Goo  -  Penny Payne

Baron Hardnut  -  Steve Bishop

Kevin  -  Jonathan North

Keith the Thief  -  Matt Smith

Horace & Ginger Ted -  Neil Tunbridge

The King -  Andrew Mander          

Mayor Moody  -  Rick Roberts

Villager 1, Magic Tree & Guard  -  Jon Slade

Villager 2, Woodman, Susan, Kentucky & Spider  -  Keira McCann

The Crew

Written by:  Ros Tunbridge & Simon Vines

Additional script material:  John Hallahan

Director:  Ros Tunbridge

Musical Director: Robert Randall

Stage Management: Andy Hall & Steve Harris

Band: Robert Randall (keyboards), Simon Binning (bass), Dave Lock (drums)

Lighting & Sound (Design and Operation): Steve North, Julie Montgomery, Paul Flook, with support from Alistair Kennard and Colin Burgess

Stage Operations: Andy Hall, Steve Harris & James Quinn

Props:  Theresa Hallahan & Jane Swale

Set Designer: Tony Dent

Set Construction & Decor: Tony Dent, Phil Rathbone, John Hallahan, Neil Tunbridge, Barbara Dent, Carol Griffiths & Bob Goddard

Costumes: Bacardi (Barbara Dent, Carol Griffiths, Diana Quinn)

Make up: Carol Griffiths & Diana Quinn

Prompt: Rosemary Stern & Gordon Drayson

Box office: Rick Roberts

Programme: Vicky Biggs

Publicity: The Committee

Front of house: Rick Roberts

Refreshments: Members of the Church


Act 1


Scene1: The village of Square

Scene 1a: A Spell for Harry

Scene 2: The Royal Palace

Scene 2a: The Plot is Hatched

Scene 3: In the Woods

Scene 4: The Princess Escapes

Act 2

Scene 5: Lost in the Woods

Scene 5a: Always Look on the Bright Side

Scene 6: The Gingerbread House

Scene 6a: The Plot Thickens

Scene 7: Preparations in the Palace

Scene 7a: Outside the Palace

Scene 8: The Palace Ballroom


Thanks go to the following individuals and organisations for their support:

Colin Burgess - the loan of lighting equipment

Theatre Workshop Coulsdon - the loan of lighting and sound equipment

Sanderstead  United Reformed Church - the loan of chairs

Theatre 62 - the loan of costumes



Reviewed by Theo Spring   27th January 2023

A triumphant “We’re back” from Simon Vines as Dame Doris Dunghill was greeted enthusiastically by Wednesday’s audience when The Pantoloons returned to the stage of Purley United Reformed Church to continue their long history of presenting slightly unorthodox pantomines.

Babez in the Wood was no exception, incorporating, as it did, parts of well known fairy tales. Thus the Gingerbread House from Hanzel and Gretel made an appearance and, stolen from Snow White, Princes Pertunia is taken deep, deep, deep into the woods to be killed by the Queen’s henchman (or men, in this case!) Authors of the script, once again, Ros Tunbridge and Simon Vines, even incorporated a Shakespearean quote and borrowed vaguely from Hamlet with the family killing, by poison, of the reigning King. An unsuccessful attempt here or Andrew Mander’s role as The King would have been superfluous.

Princess Pertunia is the eldest of the royal siblings and is rightly in line to inherit the throne. Second-born Kevin is the wicked Queen’s darling. She plans that the King’s poisoning will be revealed as Pertunia’s doing and, as she will have been killed in the deep deep, deep forest, Kevin will become King. Well – that’s a vague outline but much else is going on too – like their village being up for an award they want to win for the 10th time and a magic spell which creates a magnetic attraction to Harry.

The Babez of the title add to the plot by losing their lead singer and discover that the Princess could step in – and rightly so as Harriett Jackson, who plays her, is given centre stage for some very-well delivered songs.

Theresa Hallahan and Penny Payne are the two colourfully-dressed Babez seeking a third. Comic names were chosen – Adele-Boy for Theresa and Lady Goo Goo for Penny. Their duet – Bobby’s Girl reworded to Harry’s Girl was fun as they revealed T-shirts picturing Harry as part of the number.

Comedy here is once again in the hands of Jane Swale as Dotty – acting dim and misunderstanding things. Newcomer to the Pantoloons, Dan McCann, brings a good stage presence to Harry, in good voice,  constantly involved on stage and helping to move the ‘plot’ along.

There are two characters to boo. The wicked Queen, played with forceful presence by Vicky Biggs and Baron Hardnut given effective evil by Steve Bishop. Matt Smith is the Baron’s sidekick, Keith the thief, another newcomer who certainly made his mark.

The Babez do have a manager with the unlikely name of James Blondel. Here John Hallahan in an outrageous blond wig, sustained an excellent cod-American accent and carried a lute throughout – maybe he was hoping to go on to rescue Richard the Lionheart by singing outside a variety of prisons, as history tells us!

Smaller roles were in good hands with Mayor Moody in a wonderful costume, played by Rick Roberts and Neil Tunbridge managing a number of quick changes to become Horace and Ginger Ted. His Scottish accent and outrageous tartan hat were both amusing. Also taking on a variety of roles was Keira McCann – popping up throughout the show and Jon Slade, who made a wonderfully impressive Magic Tree. Full marks for his realistic costume. Costumes by Bacardi, were up to the Pantoloons usual high standard, full of gold and glamour for the court and charming gingham for the villagers; swirling cloaks for the Baron and elegant waistcoats for Harry. Ros Tunbridge as the Spirit of the Wood was a colourful fairy. Her opening rhyming lines with the Queen, to set the scene, were amusingly written. Jonathan North did a good job as Kevin, the Mummy’s boy- again, very well costumed.

Lighting and the many sound cues were effective and spot on. Additional script material was provided by John Hallahan.

The set was designed by Tony Dent with some ingenuity for this small stage and Robert Randall once again led the band as Musical Director.

Director Ros Tunbridge created a show full of charm and chuckles, ably abetted by her co-author Simon Vines, still very much in his element as a Panto Dame – quick with repartee, audience interaction and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves – both on stage and in the audience!

Welcome back Pantoloons.


As usual, the Pantoloons present their show for charity and the choice this year is the very worthy Children’s Trust.