Customers who paid to see a pantomime at a venue in Chippenham have all been offered refunds because the performance was so ‘spectacularly bad’.
The performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at a community centre was advertised using pictures from a previous production and advertised as having a ‘sparkling set and glittering costumes’.
But panto-goers were disappointed to discover that there were only three actors in the performance who appeared to have been brought in at the last minute.
An angry audience member told BBC News: “There were only three people, no scenery, they couldn’t sing or dance.”
Natalie Uff wrote said on Facebook: “At one point they were talking to voices in the wings as they ran out of people.”
Tereza Cleverley wrote: “It was spectacularly bad. It felt as if two of the cast members had been pulled in at the last minute and it was their first live show.”
Our run of sold out pantomimes with OOOH ARRR Productions LTD start TOMORROW! Are you excited as we are?! pic.twitter.com/JtqzV7fCEY
— Neeld Community & Arts Centre (@NeeldArts) December 26, 2018
The 158-seat venue apologised that the performance ‘was not the standard of show the Neeld is used to presenting’.
The show ran from 27-29 December and charged £7 for tickets.
The town council, who runs the venue, apologised to disappointed visitors and said in a statement: “The images provided by the company for promotional purposes did not reflect the show they brought to us.”
OOOH ARRR Productions, the company behind the show, blamed a ‘booking error’ for the poor performance.
They said: “It has come to our attention that the press have made comment on our pantomime of 3 performances at a venue in Chippenham which formed the final 3 of a total of 60+ across many venues throughout October-December.
“We agreed a full refund WITH the venue after receiving a handful of complaints from patrons as the disappointment and confusion was a result of a booking error, the error being, our previous artistic director and pantomime producer had made arrangements with the venue for a 6 person production, following this there were conversations with the venue that involved replacing it with the 3 person cast due to it potentially not selling well, this version of the show had been performed over the last 2 months in front of 1000’s [sic] of satisfied customers.”