ON Monday, November 28 the Eastgate Studio underwent a transformation as walls decorated with flower wreaths, the sea and even a sailing boat set the scene for Peebles Players’ performance of Charley Marley and the Magic Spiderman.

The story and songs – based on legends and music of the Caribbean – was warm, rhythmic, dramatic, and fun for everyone involved.

The musical ensemble of Caroline Adam, piano; Anne Giles, violin; and Bill Giles, on trombone, kept the singing and action moving on in style.

The part of Charley was brilliantly played by Jeremy Sceats, who was centre stage for most of the action.

Jeremy’s miming was spot on as we shared with him the hard work of preparing his boat to cross the Atlantic and real drama when he was caught in a storm, in which the whole company let fly with the percussion – a crescendo of wind and waves with a crashing finale as the boat sank.

Tessa Salvasan played the part of Anansi, the magic Spiderman with eight arms waving and a huge grin, accompanied by delicate magic music on pitched percussion.

On Mango Island, Joe (David Learmouth), tried to set out his stall while trying to repel his sister, Jazzy’s, (Helen Rodger) repeated demands to be taken to the Mango Walk.

Excellent acting from both – and indeed from the full company who took part in a lively Mango Walk.

With Anansi’s magic, Charley reached Banana Island where he bought some rather expensive bananas from Mr Tallyman (Michael Whiteford).

Thanks to Anansi, his boat magically reappeared so Charley did reach home and his girlfriend Lisa (Valerie Benzie) to give her what she had asked for – a banana.

In the finale, the joy of their wedding was celebrated by the whole cast with a lively hornpipe dance.

This show had been prepared by musical director Claire Garnett to celebrate the Player’s 30th anniversary in 2020, and it was a triumph to have kept it going on Zoom through lockdown and eventually rehearse live, resulting in such a confident and musical performance.

Comments from the enthusiastic audience said it all:

“It was brilliant. The excitement, energy and enthusiasm in the room was fizzing. The Players and carers all rose to the occasion. They did so well!”

“Well, that was a lovely performance. The audience all enjoyed it and the players looked like they enjoyed it too. It was so nice to see them all participate; they really rose to the occasion and did so much more than you would expect. Thanks to you all for the work you’ve put into allowing them all to shine.”

“It was a lovely occasion and so nice to see how much it meant to the Players. Lovely to see their enthusiasm and excitement. Well done everybody!”

Once again, Peebles Players have shown that disability is no bar to quality creative music and drama.