Greenwich Theatre – until 12 January 2020
Reviewed by Donna Easton (and family)
Ah panto! A genre that I just can’t help but love and in this instance a fun and silly night out, made all the more enjoyable as I was also watching through the eyes of my 4 year old daughter.
My little girl was captivated from the outset but I have to admit that I felt the show was a little slow to get going. ‘Back in the USSR’ was lacking the energy one usually expects from a panto opening number and left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I needn’t have worried though as my panto buzz came back with a vengeance with the appearance of the dame, Andrew Pollard’s ‘Tsarina Bertha’. It was at this point that I let my guard down and just sat back and enjoyed the show for what it was. Andrew is clearly an incredibly accomplished Dame, Bertha was delivered with perfect pitch to the audience and we loved watching as she suitably embarrassed one of the men in the audience with her giant ‘black pudding’. I loved Eli Caldwell’s Bjorn, the Swedish Au Pair but a favourite for me was Anthony Spargo who’s Rasputin reminded me of a cross between Rick Mayall and Captain Jack Sparrow. He had the audience laughing and ‘boo’ing with his great opening number and as a panto bad guy, he was spot on.
The show had plenty of memorable moments; the lead characters as babies and Bertha floating through space and Martin Johnston as Tsar Ivan chasing after her in his rocket and also some sweet moments, 525 600 minutes was beautifully sung by the ensemble.
It was a good way into the first half that we started picking up some of the traditional Sleeping Beauty storyline. Sleeping Beauty (Anastasia), played by Esme Bacalla-Hayes was a delight. She was just so lovely to watch. Strength and sweetness in equal measure and my 4 year old daughter said she was ‘beautiful’. Exactly what you want from a panto princess.
All in all, we had a great night. A feel good production and an evening to remind us that we shouldn’t take life too seriously and just let go once in a while and enjoy the theatre for what it is. Pure entertainment. Well done Greenwich!
But hey, the most important critic is my 4 year old and here is what she had to say, “I loved the bit when Sleeping Beauty came out the best, it was hilarious when they were babies, the aliens were funny and I loved throwing the moon puddings……Mummy, can we go back and see it again?” Enough said I think.