WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Greenwich Theatre
WHEN: 25/11, runs to 8/1/17
We can remember going to a pantomime each year as a child and wish, in retrospect, that they were as Pan-tastic as the annual festive treat served up at Greenwich Theatre by Andrew Pollard (pictured above).
- Read on for reasons including which cast member we were manhandled by in the second half
Pollard stars as dame Long Joan Silver in this, his 12th panto as author. We arrived thinking this could never be as saucy, touching and joyous as last year’s Red Riding Hood, which was our first experience of the Christmas treat that Greenwich has been blessed with since 2005.
Also returning is Anthony Spargo as Hook who is channelling Rik Mayall here and is a tremendous foil for the traditional panto dame that Pollard so inhabits.
‘Do we all love fairies?’ asks the cast at one point. Elsewhere the wall-building of Donald Trump and the ruination of Brexit are all toyed with, addressed and poked fun at.
This year much of the cast are suspended on strings from the ceiling at various moments as the Peter Pan theme is well and truly grabbed and launched in full flight.
Walk the Moon’s Shut Up And Dance and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling are two of the more recent hits featured here along with classics from yesteryear such as Black Lace’s Agadoo.
What we’ve come to very much enjoy about Pollard’s pantos are the mixture of the new and traditional. The cast is strong but particularly memorable are the feisty Krystal Dockery as Tinkerbell (complete with theme tune of Rebel, Rebel by David Bowie), a rainbow-dogged Rory Maguire as Peter Pan and Sackie Osakonor as Smee who quite often sees the wrong end of Hook’s, erm, Hook and treated us to a playful manhandling in the second half.
The theme, that imagination can’t be stolen and is in all children, is a delight.
We’re hugely excited to see Cinderella at the Palladium next month starring Paul O’Grady and Julian Clary but wonder whether it can top this Greenwich treat which is quite possibly the most reliable panto you’ll ever see if you’re looking for family fun, occasional adult humour that would be unnoticed by a child, joy and sentiment.
Sample joke: like unwrapping chocolates and putting them in other wrappers? You’ll get your Snickers in a Twix.
- Pictures by Robert Day courtesy Greenwich Theatre. Tickets
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