by Kenneth Alan Taylor.
Nottingham Playhouse Wellington Circus NG1 5AF To 14 January 2012.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 941 9419.
Review: Jen Mitchell 26 November.
Yet another spectacular Christmas offering at Nottingham Playhouse.
This year, not just one but three dames, tripling the Nottingham Playhouse panto comedy. Anthony Hoggard is hysterical as Donna – his range of facial expressions has to be seen to be believed, while John Elkington revels in the beastly Bella, continuing his tradition of acerbic but good-natured banter with the audience.
As Baron Hardup of Hardup Hall is on holiday we are treated to a visit from his sister, the Dowager Duchess Devilla. Jeffrey Longmore as senior dame is impressive – mean and cold-hearted with just the right amount of humour not to fall into utter villain mode. These three inspire plenty of boos and hisses, and a hearty dose of laughter too. Their keep-fit routine has to be one of the funniest in ages.
There are plenty more riotous moments; to see Bella and Donna dressed as two very familiar princesses in unusual headgear is one highlight, as is the Dowager Duchess performing Tina Turner.
Adam Barlow returns for a second year to the Nottingham playhouse as a hapless Buttons, providing a gentle but suitably slapstick humour for children in the audience. Prince Charming (Hannah Wilding) and Dandini (Rebecca Little) are thigh-slappingly good principle boys. Fairy Godmother Nicole Webb is kind and sparkly as you would expect and Cinderella Danielle Corlass suitably sweet. All four sing their way excellently through a variety of upbeat chart songs and slower romantic numbers.
There are the usual references to popular culture and my own vocabulary has increased since learning from my teenage daughters the meaning of ‘well jell’ amongst other things (‘well jealous’ apparently – see The Only Way is Essex).
As ever, the team of young dancers do a wonderful job, the dance routines adding hugely to the whole spectacle.
Playhouse panto sets are always sumptuous, this year especially. Designer Tim Meacock’s transformation scene from kitchen to coach and horses works beautifully, particularly with the huge white suspended horses seemingly galloping the coach to its destination.
Kenneth Alan Taylor and Nottingham Playhouse continue to keep the tradition of pantomime well and truly alive in the city. Long may it continue.
Buttons: Adam Barlow.
Dandini: Rebecca Little.
Bella: John Elkington.
Donna: Anthony Hoggard.
Cinderella: Danielle Corlass.
Dowager Duchess Devilla: Jeffrey Longmore.
Prince Charming: Hannah Wilding.
The Fairy Godmother: Nicole Webb.
Red Team: Amy Cross, Emily Lee, Alexandra Hoskins, Georgia Sharpe, Emily Sanders, Ashleigh Frost, Erin Keogh, Lauren Skinner.
Blue Team: Sarah Robinson, Kyeirah Stephens-Thoms, Isobel Teer, Beatrice Findley, Lucy Bevan, Lauren Pringle, Cora Vanaman, Holly Brown.
(Reserve: Alice Ingram.)
Director: Kenneth Alan Taylor.
Designer: Tim Meacock.
Lighting: Jason Taylor.
Sound: Ciaron McKenna.
Musical Director: John Morton.
Choreographer: Adele Parry.
Dance Captain: Rebecca Little.