WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Greenwich Theatre
WHEN: press night 27/11, runs to 10/1/16
‘Have you ever been taken up the Alps?’ Yes, it’s panto season, we love a good one and we’re kicking ourselves for not checking out the rumour earlier that the UK’s best was right under our very noses a mere sprint across Greenwich Park from home.
Andrew Pollard (Granny Fanny, see picture below) is celebrating his 11th year as writer of the Greenwich Theatre panto and the 10th as its dame. monstagigz has seen more pantos than we’d admit to and Granny Fanny is our favourite dame since Sir Ian McKellen at the Old Vic at least a decade ago.
This is utterly a show that is fun for all the family. Scarlett (the headstrong Kirsty Marie Ayers, pictured at the top of this review) is intent on saving Granny Fanny’s under-threat theatre and surrounding wood from the fracking plans of Count Fracula (a livewire Anthony Spargo channelling both Russell Brand and Kenny Everett) while the wooden Prince Arden (a charming Alex Spinney pictured at the top above) bumbles about ruining the best attempt of the audience ‘hoodies’ to foil Fracula (pictured below with Martin Johnston’s Herr Brush).
We’re given 3D glasses after the interval which brings the action to life but, in truth, we were suckered from the very beginning. ‘Herr Brush? No, we’re OK we put a comb through this morning.’
For the parents there are songs including the best of the Rolling Stones, Wham!, Bros and the Pointer Sisters. For the youngsters there is a fabulous comedy pig supporting cast featuring the joyous Alim Jayda as Piggy Smalls (pictured below). We’re still laughing about the: ‘Don’t touch the horn …’ comedy skit.
monstagigz tries not to celebrate Christmas without an accompanying panto. Don’t let the season pass without giving the most amazing of theatre genres a pop.
Greenwich Theatre’s is definitely amongst the best we’ve ever seen. The fact that it features no star casting makes it also the most refreshing London night out. Surrender yourself to the writing.
We’re not sure you’ll see a better panto this Christmas. The UK’s best panto? Oh yes it is! Do let us know if you’ve seen something better in the comments below.
- All pictures courtesy Greenwich Theatre. Tickets here.
- Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham