Liverpool Everyman– until 19 January 2019
It may be a time of change at the Everyman, but if there’s one thing we can rely on it’s all the fun of the rock ‘n’ roll panto.
It’s been quite a while since MADEUP managed this particular outing – the last time was in its temporary relocation to the Playhouse, five years ago if memory serves. And now, all this time later, I got to benefit from the new perspective of being accompanied by actual real children, like you’re supposed to.
The colour, the music and general spectacle of the production engrossed them both (being an older baby and pre-schooler), especially in the second half once the story had been established.
The story, penned, as per, by Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton, has all their hallmarks and, most importantly, a cast headed up by Everyman panto veterans Francis Tucker and Adam Keast.
Taking the fairytale of the Snow Queen as a starting point, the show pelted talking penguins, Mr Whippys, water pistols and a whole load of disco at the audience, who are game for everything.
Evil queen Viletta wants to tear apart young lovers Laputa and Malachai as she spreads her freeze across the land. This, of course, all to a rather oddball soundtrack of everything from Queen to Take That – even some strains of Devo in the mix. Needless to say, the rock ‘n’ roll is the real deal with the cast rotating as the house band to boot, so consider ear defenders for younger children who aren’t keen on loud noise.
Everything’s held together by Nicola Martinus -Smith as the charming Fairy Snowdrop; but it’s Tucker and Keast’s larking about – arguably toned down a bit for the schools performance on the occasion we saw it – that, as ever, makes the show an irresistible draw.
There’s a simplicity to this year’s production, so much as that can ever be said about panto. There’s not much by way of special effects, although there are plenty of laughs to be wrung from more low tech visuals, like fake comedy legs protruding from rocket costumes. The band were almost hidden away in an upper corner, and the dame’s costumes didn’t seem quite as joyously ludicrous as usual.
However, time flew – not always a claim the Ev panto can make – and the young audience lapped it up.
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