Helen Murray

The Fairytale Revolution

Reviewer's Rating

This is not a traditional pantomime. There is no Dame or Principal Boy. In fact, all the boys are girls. The cast compromises four young women, whose aim is both to subvert and support the genre. The show fizzes with energy. It is fast and curious!

Situated above The Latchmere public house in Battersea, the theatre is perforce limited in space, but not in inventiveness. The tiered rows of seating afford the audience a good view of the stage, and the stage is set for a roller coaster ride through some familiar and some unexpected pantomimic territory. The main story is based on Peter Pan, with the main characters being Captain Hook and Wendy. The pirate crew emit good old “Avast there, me hearties!” Long John Silver style ejaculations. But not content with that, the cast want to break into other stories, and be other people if they want to (a not unfamiliar feature of modern times, if not of pantomimes).

The audience loved it. There are rapid costume changes to depict a succession of different characters, but also simple props to represent various fairytale creatures such as wolves and dragons. No need for hi-tech special effects. Children can use their imaginations. Besides, there is plenty of rumbustious action and knock-about buffoonery for the kids to enjoy, and plenty of verbal virtuosity and quickfire one-liners for the adults to appreciate. Best of all, the characters strike up a great rapport with the audience. The original music and songs composed for the show are so good that everyone wants to join in!

After the evening performance, I was surprised to learn that there had been a matinee that afternoon. How had the cast of four managed to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to do it all again? They are really marvelous. If you want to see a pantomime this Christmas, go and see this one. It’s a (excuse the seasonal pun) cracker!