What a great evening of silliness and fun! We were still singing the final number as we walked to our car after the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society's annual show, "Little Beau Peep and the Smugglers."
For the man sitting behind us, it was his first KATS show, but he quickly caught on that it's all about audience participation. You "boo" and "hiss" every time the villains set foot on stage, greet the Dame with a rousing "Hello, Sarah!", sing the Silly Song (this year "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts") and join in the cries of "Oh no they don't!"
The Dame (in the British tradition played by a man, Warren Brooks in this case) appeared in a series of ever-gaudier hoop skirts and towering wigs. The children's chorus, always adorable, this year portrayed a flock of baaa-ing lambs. We especially liked Sir Jasper (Mike Ferry)'s chillingly evil laugh, and as always, it was fun to see friends and neighbors hamming it up on stage.
Toward the end of intermission, the two "revenue men," Sergeant Nickel and Corporal Dime, strode through the cafeteria, rounding audience members up and threatening us with a loitering tax if we didn't return to the auditorium immediately. Of course, Caroline Smith's script included some local references. The Pantomime Horse was carrying mushrooms in its basket, and a pivotal birthmark, the Hawkhurst Escutcheon, was described as being located in "an unmentionable place."
"Like Unionville??" was the horrified reply. (I booed.)
At breakfast the next morning at Longwood Family Restaurant, we ran into Peter Giangiulio, who had played Poseidon and is the KATS Board Chair, and got to tell him how much we enjoyed the show. He and his wife Stephanie was on their way to tear down the sets.