Panto time! Beauty and the Beast comes to Kenton

22 December 2016

On its 50th anniversary, the thespians of north-west London have more surprises for all the family as writers Robert Spolander and Stuart Everett work their magic once again on this year's pantomime.

 

Robert, who was born and raised in Wembley Park, joined the society as a 12 year old and it was there that he first met Stuart. They both took part in the children's chorus which still selects its members from the local community, as was the case for Beauty and the Beast.

 

The writing duo had their script selected by the Chameleons' committee as all members can pen a play to put forward. "We bounce off each other so it is good fun sitting down and writing with Stuart as there is a lot of banter and we can gauge how effective the script will be. At Chameleons, we are all about creating traditional family pantos with larger than life characters and that quirky element to keep the audience on their toes," said Robert.

 

"Everyone at Chameleons is a volunteer, from the backstage crew to the actors. It is like one big family. It plays a huge part in my life and it is a chance to forget about all your worries and detach yourself from the 9 to 5. We love what we do and hope to continue producing plays and pantos that audiences can enjoy."

 

It really is a family affair at the Chameleons as Robert remembers his own parents getting involved when he first joined the society as they rolled up their sleeves and helped with raffles and seating guests.

 

The 41-year-old is more than aware of what it takes to put together a show as he is the production manager for Beauty and the Beast and rehearsals are already underway. "It can be rather frantic at times with many balls in the air but once the curtain goes up on the opening night, I take a breath and realise that it was all worth it after all the sweat and tears that go into a production," added Robert.

 

Chameleons were formed in 1966 by Joan Mundy and Jim Snell and were originally known as the Neasden Methodist Church Drama Society. They performed their first pantomime in 1971 and continue to produce one every year as well as two plays.

 

They called the old Brent town hall home for over 30 years before it was closed in 2011 and performed in front of audiences of up to 2,000 people. It was there that they graced the stage with real life ponies for Cinderella.

 

"We all love what we are doing here and hope to continue to produce productions that the people enjoy. I remember the look on the kids' faces when we had the Wicked Witch fly onto the stage for the Wizard of Oz back at the old Brent town hall. It is those types of moments which stay with the youngsters when they leave the theatre and gets their imagination rolling," explained Robert.

 

Chameleons will be performing Beauty and the Beast from 5 -8 January at Claremont High School, Kenton.

 

For ticket information visit www.thechameleons.co.uk or call 020 8 123 6443