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Hundreds of youngsters take to Hornchurch theatre stage for fairytale triumph

PUBLISHED: 12:54 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 11 April 2017

Some of the young cast in rehearsals

Some of the young cast in rehearsals

Archant

Fairytale favourites good and bad have joined forces this week for an inclusive drama group’s biggest production yet.

Twice Upon a Time is the group's second time performing at Queen's Theatre, following last year's Magic of the MusicalsTwice Upon a Time is the group's second time performing at Queen's Theatre, following last year's Magic of the Musicals

More than 200 children and teenagers, aged between seven and 17, rehearsed for months for The Habbit Factory’s original show Twice Upon a Time, staged at Queen’s Theatre.

And the Recorder popped down last night for the second of three performances, joining a sold-out audience of proud families and friends.

Twice Upon a Time, a pantomime-style caper developed from ideas suggested by members, started with the good guys enjoying their charmed lives. Cinderella and her prince begin making preparations to wed, and plan for their union to be sealed by the wearing of the magic ring of life and happiness, making them Not So Far Away’s king and queen.

But not wanting the bad guys to miss this opportunity to wreak some havoc, the Big Bad Wolf and his pals (newly-released from jail) plot to steal the ring for themselves, and the stage is set for a showdown.

The Habbit Factory's latest show is Twice Upon a TimeThe Habbit Factory's latest show is Twice Upon a Time

Twice Upon a Time is only the second occasion the group has performed at the Hornchurch venue, following last year’s Magic of the Musicals, and the children conducted themselves brilliantly.

Looking like they were having the time of their lives, they poured energy into every performance, and should be applauded for how well they learned their songs and dialogue, of which there was a lot, being a two-hour-long performance.

As a pantomime, there had to be a dame, and Aunt Georgina was a riot, running gags for adults and kids alike. An audience participation song featuring her ‘victim’ for the night had everyone in hysterics.

There was something for everyone in the music choices, which included Easy Lover (Phil Collins), Love on Top (Beyoncé) and What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction).

The production features 254 children and teenagersThe production features 254 children and teenagers

Highlights included the heroes and villains defiantly singing Welcome to the Black Parade (My Chemical Romance), the villains belting out a version of Cell Block Tango (Chicago) in jail and an emotive performance of Fight Song (Rachel Platten), which saw the young stars do sign language as well as sing.

As the evening ended to the sounds of S Club 7’s Reach, a much-deserved standing ovation was given to the children.

Twice Upon a Time was a fantastic show with all the essential pantomime ingredients, and all 254 members taking part in the production should feel immensely proud of themselves.

Visit thehabbitfactory.org for more on the charity, which welcomes youngsters of all abilities and costs just £2 a week.

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