PANTO SEASON: BEHIND THE SCENES - DYNASTY
Ask anyone to name a theatrical dynasty and you can be almost certain that they will mention the Redgraves or the Richardsons. If they are particularly enlightened, they might offer the Barrymores or the Gielguds. You will not, however, get many answers other than that.
If, on the other hand, someone mentions the Wests or the Statons, you can be pretty sure that you are in Cubbington.
Every club or society has one or two families around whom the whole organisation revolves. Visit any cricket club across the land, look at the honours board and you will see the same surnames repeating themselves with an incestuous regularity. Without such people, there would be little amateur sport, little amateur drama and, frankly, little amateur fundraising.
Both families have been involved with the group since the 1970s, from all aspects. Indeed, you could build several committees from their combined experience and certainly cast any number of plays. At times, lifestyle choices have led some away from the group for a while, but ultimately all have returned and this year's pantomime will feature no fewer than five members of the West clan and three of the Statons. That's not to mention Brenda West, one of the producers, or any of the Statons who are working backstage on the production.
In fact, there are three generations of the West family in this production. Father Barry plays one of the Sheriff of Nottingham's henchmen, son Paul the Dame and daughter Ruth the female baddie. Completing the lineup, Paul's daughter Ella and Ruth's son Alex play two of the children's roles.
The Statons, on the other hand, may not have the same depth of family, but they make up for it in breadth. This year sees brothers John (as the other henchman) and Pete (the Sheriff of Nottingham himself) appear in the same pantomime for the first time in...well, far longer than either of them care to be reminded of. By contrast, Pete's daughter Fay is making her Cubbington Players debut alongside them.
There are other Statons out there, too. John's wife Cath and son Jim are taking a well-earned break from pantomime, having written and produced last year's production, whilst daughter Ruth is the group's treasurer. Pete's wife Kath is one of the two props mistresses and his sons Tim and Ben have both appeared in productions in the past.
Cubbington Players - proving that you don't need Joan Collins to play Dynasty.