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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

PANTOMIME REVIEW: Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

Last year Cinderella at the London Palladium raised the bar on the scale and production values invested in Christmas Pantomime in a way that few venues could compete with and set the challenge for Michael Harrison in directing this year production of Dick Whittington. 

You can literally see the time and effort invested in this year's show to make it feel bigger and better than last year with nine principles in the cast, twelve in the band and an ensemble of twenty two, all dressed in sumptuous costumes throughout by Ron Briggs with spectacular effects.

The Twins FX team create the huge special effects that are a signature of Qdos pantomimes and this show opens with a ridiculous over the top string of London buses carrying the shows title and then sets the tale in context with a giant rat voiced by last year's star Paul O'Grady. You can imagine someone challenging them to be bigger this year and suggesting flying a London double bus over the audience which they duly oblige at the end of act 1.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

REVIEW: Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios

Like the fragrant pasta alla puttanesca that Michael (Julian Clary) cooks from scratch on stage, Le Grand Mort is a mixture of flavoursome ingredients, whose unbalanced combination could easily result in a stodgy meal. With its graphic elements and piquant frontal nudes, this rich recipe of sex, religion and death might not appeal to the most delicate palates but it does indeed cater for seasoned punters who crave for some zest.

With a relevant change in lighting, the intimate Trafalgar Studio Two alternates between the bar where Michael and Tim (James Nelson-Joyce) first meet and the former's kitchen, where he prepares a delicious dinner for two. Whilst cooking – as if talking to himself – he mentions a series of famous characters whose passing has been enveloped in such a plethora of anecdotes to generate a sort of pornography of death. Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana and Rasputin are amongst the names mentioned, whilst Christ on the cross is described as a huge phallic symbol. As in this case, the mix is often disturbing and the words inevitably take centre stage in a piece where the action feels manufactured and patchy.
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