WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE? Palladium RUN TIME: 2 hours and 45 minutes (including 20-minute interval)
WHEN?: 9/12/18 (matinee), press night 12/12/18, runs to 13/1/19
This year this annual pantomime extravaganza at London’s iconic Palladium won the Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award.
- Read on for reasons including how king of innuendo Julian Clary is once again the show’s star
It’s become a fixture on our family Christmas must-do list since it began in 2016 and you can also read our review of the award-winning Dick Whittington from last year.
Can 2018’s show match the seasonal sparkle and ambition of previous shows? Oh yes it can!
For children there is ventriloquist Paul Zerdin (an ever-present since 2016) and he continues to merit his casting not least for interacting with youngsters brought on stage near the show’s close to attempt a tricksy tongue twister.
For mums there is also the returning comic foil and Chancer Nigel Havers who continues to be the butt of many jokes as The Understudy while high-kicking Charlie Stemp (soon to star in the West End in Mary Poppins) is a dashing Prince Harry of Hampstead.
For dads Dawn French is a comic hit as baddie Queen Dragonella and Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope sings up a storm as our titular heroine.
For everyone else there is Gary Wilmot in drag with an apt song celebrating the Palladium stars of yesteryear as well as 1 about the importance of parenting and Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia who enchant with dance.
We’ve said it before and will say it again but Julian Clary (this year as the Man In The Mirror) is, despite serious competition, undoubtedly the show’s star.
His archetypal saucy badinage finds a natural home in pantomime and there’s so much fun had here making phrases like a ‘spritzer in the snug at the Admiral Duncan’ sound far more risqué than they are when written.
The words no expense spared seem to have been coined for his many costume changes which regularly wow.
So there’s much that will be familiar to the regular visitor here but the Palladium’s spectacle outdoes itself with a blizzard of ticker tape, a magical sleigh ride and the scariest monster effect we think we’ve ever seen in the theatre.
Still a magical, laughter-fuelled Christmas feast for all the family to enjoy.