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Sunday, 26 December 2021

Pocket Picks: Our top Pantomimes of 2021!

Pantomime is one of the greatest British festive traditions, bringing so many people to theatres; some for the first time and some as a yearly tradition. We look back at some of the pantomimes we've reviewed here at Pocket so far this year and pick out some of the highlights! But even though we're choosing our favourites, we must send our admiration to all those involved in theatre across the UK, whether in a panto or anything else. With closures happening all over due to the pandemic yet again, it has reminded us how privileged we are to get to experience the joy that is live theatre. So keep supporting your local venues, and go see a panto!

"...this year we’ve got a couple of proper names in the always good value, Bonnie Langford and Lee Mead. Along with Myra Dubois as the wicked fairy, Lloyd Hollett as Muddles, the Court Jester, Claudillea Holloway as the princess and Joelle Moses as the Queen, this combination proves to be the best overall cast I can recall." 


Friday, 17 December 2021

REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Pantomime is at its best when the cast works together with energy as a team to deliver the show and the pace and balance of the production is maintained through the production. Christopher Biggins is a hugely experienced Dame but at seventy-two and with a knee replacement earlier this year he needs to pace himself through the show which he does with elegant ease popping on and off the stage at regular intervals like a watchful mother of the show. He has worked before with Rikki Jay who plays Simon and David O’Mahony who plays Fleshcreep and you sense that these two inject the energy and changes of pace the show needs around him. They make a great threesome driving the show forward. 

Jay bounces around the stage, looking like he is enjoying himself which helps engage the audience and keep the atmosphere lively as he builds a strong rapport with them. He delivers the shopping trolley sketch with great skill and lovely asides to the audience with the help of King Crumble (Derek Elroy). The standard Mastermind sketch and Lip sync challenge routines are delivered as if brand new and generate good laughs as does the other Crossroads standard, “Shirley shaw sells sushi”. The audience reaction reaches fever pitch in the song sheet replacement of “Bobbing up and down” which sees the whole audience joining in and rising and sitting on each word beginning with B to draw the show to a close.
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