WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN?: 6/12/20, runs to 23/12/20 RUNTIME: 75 minutes
WHERE?: Turbine Theatre UPDATE: Lockdown means this production closed early with its last performance 15/12/20. However a recorded version is available to pay to view until 1/1/21. Details
Our go-to Christmas pantomime is Greenwich Theatre‘s but this year COVID-19 has forced its postponement until Easter.
- Read on for reasons including why the audience was urged to shout ‘F*ck the Tories’
This week we’ll join Julian Clary for Pantoland at the Palladium but, for now, we’ve given this Socially Distanced Ball at Battersea’s boutique Turbine Theatre a go.
Rufus Hound (who this year starred in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of David Walliams and Robbie Williams musical The Boy In A Dress) plays Buttons and it is immediately obvious how topical and political this production is going to be when he encourages the audiences to chant ‘F*ck the Tories’ on his character’s arrival on stage.
Our setting is present day Soho, Buttons is on furlough, uses a 2-metre measuring stick to ensure Cinderella and a Prince-inspired Prince C are suitably socially distanced at all times and our titular heroine loses an Ugg boot before she has to depart the ball at the 10pm COVID-19 curfew.
As with the best pantomimes, the funniest moment happened after deep-voiced ugly sister Vajaja (played by the laugh-a-minute Oscar Conlon-Morrey, pictured below) stubbed his toe against some misplaced scenery: ‘I was playing in the f*cking West End in March.’
Conlon-Morrey and Scott Paige’s (Eugenius, Other Palace) Fanny make for hilarious Ugly Sisters and their riff on a well-known Hamilton song with Daisy Wood-Davis’ Cinderella was a comedy highlight. Debbie Kurup‘s inspiration for The Prince is very the artist formerly known as which we’d not seen before and worked well.
The adult nature of the material was perhaps best exemplified by a Prince Andrew gag about Pizzaland and a young female acquaintance which was pretty near the knuckle.
Sean Parkins’ drag Fairy GodMotherF*cker was both athletic and could sing with the title track of Six proving a surefire showstopper for the six-strong cast reflecting on their Rule Of Six limitations.
Despite numerous West End appearances we’ve never seen Hound before and he was clearly having as much fun as the audience. A shout out to co-writers Jodie Prenger and Neil Hurst for some fine work not least substituting ‘Boris go’ for ‘Let it snow’ towards the climax of this topical show for adults.
At just 75 minutes, we enjoyed this so much we could have quite happily have sat through it all again.