Refunds after ‘spectacularly bad’ panto at Chippenham venue

Jack and the Beanstalk (Image not taken from Chippenham performance)Image copyright OOOH ARRR Productions
Image caption The venue said the promotional images (shown above) provided by the company “did not reflect the show they brought to us”

A venue that put on a “spectacularly bad” pantomime has offered a refund to all customers who paid to see it.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Chippenham’s Neeld Community and Arts Centre was billed as boasting a “sparkling set and glittering costumes”.

But one disgruntled punter said: “There were only three people, no scenery, they couldn’t sing or dance.”

The town council, which runs the venue, said it “was not the standard of show the Neeld is used to presenting”.

The company behind the show, OOOH ARRR Productions, said there had been a “booking error” and it had received a “handful of complaints” but had agreed a full refund with the venue.


The show ran from 27-29 December, and was sold out, with standard tickets priced at £7.00.

Posting on the 158-seat venue’s Facebook page, ticket-buyer Natalie Uff described the panto as “awful”.

“At one point they were talking to voices in the wings as they ran out of people,” she said.

Another panto fan, Tereza Cleverley, said: “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.”

And John Snell said he was “mortified” by the standard of the production.

The Chippenham show was promoted using photos taken from a previous production with a different cast.

Image copyright OOOH ARRR Productions
Image caption The panto was advertised using promotional photos (including the image shown above) taken from a previous show in Bristol

In a statement, the town council said “we pride ourselves in providing high quality shows for Chippenham” but the “images provided by the company for promotional purposes did not reflect the show they brought to us”.

“We had been assured by the theatre production company there would be a cast of six professional actors with industry standard staging,” it added.

In a statement on its Facebook page, OOOH ARRR Productions said the “disappointment and confusion” was the result of a “booking error” which saw the original “six person production” replaced.

“There were conversations with the venue that involved replacing it with the three person cast due to it potentially not selling well,” the spokesperson said.

“The other members of the our staff were only made aware of this issue following the first performance.”

The company apologised for the “disappointment experienced as a result of this booking error” and added the person “responsible for this error” had left the company.

On its website, the Malmesbury-based firm describes itself as a “professional theatre company” that takes pride in being “fun, affordable and relevant”.

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