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Stunning Buckie panto is one to really treasure

By Alan Beresford

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THIS year's panto was to prove a very special one for Buckie Community Theatre Group.

As the curtain went up on their production of the iconic Treasure Island, it marked the 65th year the dedicated, volunteer-run group have been performing pantos in the town.

Running from Thursday through to Saturday last week, the group once more set the stage alight with a stunning set of performances which brought Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale to life with a few twists of their own.

The panto told the tale of an impulsive and adventurous young boy named Jim Hawkins who comes across a treasure map thanks to a customer staying at the inn where he works. He goes on a journey to try and recover the treasure, which once belonged to the famous Captain Flint, with plenty of songs, dance routines and jokes on the way.

It also saw a successful return to the North Church Hall as a venue, the group moving there for the first time last year.

Group stalwart Pauline Mcintosh once again did what she does best on stage, putting in an immense performance as the iconic, larger than life pirate and thoroughly villainous Long John Silver, while Jim Hawkins was superbly portrayed by Ollie McDonald.

No Buckie panto would be complete without the group's artistic director Kevin Oakes bringing his own inimitable style to the stage in the role of the show's dame and tavern owner, Ophelia Plums. The audience once again were treated to perfectly timed saucy jokes and double entendres that never failed to elicit a chuckle, not to mention more than one belly laugh.

Fresh from her role last year in Robin Hood where she played the Spirit of Sherwood, Holly Allardice portrayed Olivia Plum's daughter Audrey, a woman – like her mum – not to be argued with. Another veteran of last year's show, Gemma Archibald, swapped the mantle of witch Mortanna for the role of fair-minded and affable Squire's son Seymour, while old sea dog Billy Bones was played by Sara Chiappa, Little Joan in Robin's band of merry men in 2023.

Taking on the parts of the sirens and narrators were Audrey Gray and Leah Hay, while Brandon McArthur portrayed island man Benn Gunn and Asia Hutchison was the best spy in the land, Lady Rebecca.

Music is a big part of the panto and so it remained this time around, with the usual wide variety of tunes from down the years with something for everyone.

The cast will now be enjoying a well-earned rest after the last few months of hard work and effort before starting work on next year's extravaganza.

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