Joint effort in legend-based panto in Southam this weekend

SIR Lancelot, Queen Guinevere and King Arthur himself are joined by a friendly dragon - among others - in a comedy family pantomime coming to a Southam stage.

Two amateur dramatics, the Grange Players and the Warwick Phoenix Players, group have come together to bring King Arthur to the Grange Hall for three performances this weekend.

Following the story of Sir Lancelot’s return from the quests to Camelot, King Arthur and the Dame Queen Guinevere, the show involves the usual mix of comedy, songs and dances - as well, of course, as the ‘baddy’, the evil Morgana, who wants to take the throne with her son Mordred.

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The wizard Merlin tries to stop her, while alongside there is plenty of action and knockabout humour from Lancelot’s squire Squirt, his girlfriend Sally and a friendly dragon.

Ian Warwick of the Warwick Phoenix Players said: “The Grange Players didn’t have enough adult actors and, while we have adult actors, we don’t have a stage, so we joined forces. The last time we did a pantomime was the winter of 2004-2005 so we were happy to get involved.”

It was while performing as part of the Warwickshire Association for the Blind’s 100th anniversary that members of the Southam group met the Phoenix team and put the idea to them, having found the pantomime script at Southam library.

Since the Phoenix Players lost their permament home - the Methodist Church in Warwick - seven years ago, the group has not been able to perform pantomime and has had to rely on community centres for rehearsals.

Ian, who has been involved in the group for 34 years, said: “We’re able to perform once every summer at the Warwickshire Amateur Community Theatre’s biennial festival and by hiring a stage in the years inbetween, but it will be good to do a good, fun panto again.”

King Arthur will be performed at the Grange Hall in High Street, Southam, on Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £6 (children and concessions £3, family tickets £15) and are available from The Coffee Shop in Market Hill, Southam, or by calling 614815.