17/02/2015 06:07 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Panto Kids 'Terrified' By 'Over The Top' Heckling From Rival Performers


Children were left 'terrified' after a group of rival actors turned up to jeer and heckle their village pantomime (oh yes they did!)

Chard Amateur Theatre Society (CATS, pictured above) in Somerset had been looking forward to performing Aladdin for the last time.

But they said their final performance was ruined when members from the the rival Tatworth Amateur Pantomime Society (TAPS) turned up and started cat-calling from the stalls.

Organisers said the unwelcome guests were once part of CATS but left because they did not get the parts they wanted – so they turned up to ruin the show they once hoped they'd play a part in!

One anonymous audience member told the local paper the evening was 'ruined' by the uninvited interruption, adding: "Now, there is crowd participation, which every pantomime should strive to encourage, but this was clearly interference and sabotage.

"A number of the CATS cast were singled out for special treatment and the hecklers became louder and louder until these cast members became visibly nervous and began to make mistakes.

"At this point the feeling of victory from the hecklers was palpable as they jeered and laughed out loud, and a number of children in the cast left the stage terrified after performing."

CATS leader Lorraine Marshall said: "Every panto wants booing and hissing and that sort of stuff but this was over the top.

"A few of them used to be part of our cast and didn't get the parts they wanted, and they have got quite nasty about it. It's very disappointing.

"I felt very sorry for the cast and members of the audience because people have said to me that it ruined their night."

TAPS insisted it was just 'a bit of banter'.

Secretary Sheila Harding added: "It wasn't anything different to what others might do at a performance where people know one another.

"Some of our members gave a little bit of banter and they took offence. We go to many local pantos, not just Chard, and it is all just part and parcel of it. It's part of the banter between groups.
Maybe we might have been a fraction too loud but we are expecting them to retaliate at our performance."

More on Parentdish: The Queen in panto costume