by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper.
Landor Theatre 70 Landor Road SW9 9PH To 13 January 2013.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm except 31 Dec 6pm Sun 6pm Mat Sat 3.30pm, Sun 2pm 31Jan 6pm o performances 17, 24-26 Dec, 1 Jan no evening show 13 Jan.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 7377276.
Review: William Russell 15 December.
Hanky, Panky and Twanky
The Stag pub in Victoria being no more, their annual pantomime by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper – this is their fourth – has found a new home at the Landor. It is quite frankly about 20 minutes too long and the script needs some pretty drastic pruning.
Double entendres are fine, but repeating the same ones endlessly gets tedious as the law of diminishing returns clicks in. A few more good, as opposed to ancient gay, jokes would help. It was, however, quite nice to be told something was “frozen like a Spaniard’s pay packet” that someone had spent time in the Gulf – “So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Dubai,” – and have Twanky, when given her mail, say “They’re all bills,” only to be told “No, they’re all yours.”
Also on the plus side there is a splendid, voluptuous genie of the lamp (Sarah Dearlove), a nicely raunchy Widow Twankey (Josh Rochford neatly avoiding being a drag queen – who are a different theatrical breed to pantomime dames) and a-try-anything-once Abanazer (Matthew Baldwin, rising to the odd mishap with malevolent glee and resource).
Since it is a gay panto Aladdin (Greg Airey) falls for the Emperor’s son, Prince Char Ming (George Bull), and there is quite a lot of sexual innuendo, not all of which is funny – the title is a double entendre in itself – and it all takes place in the Chinese province of Hao Hung – say it slowly and you might get it.
But the cast work the audience well. A recently wed gay couple holding hands were suitably teased, a handsome singleton in the front row called Andrew was molested by all and sundry and the song and dance numbers are done with spirit. The sets and costumes by David Shields are appropriately garish, but it is not the dame’s clothes but the magic carpet, an inspired piece of make-do and mend, which steals the show.
The Genie of the Lamp: Sarah Dearlove.
Abanazer: Matthew Baldwin.
The Gimp of the Ring: Toby Joyce.
Aladdin: Greg Airey.
Wishy Washy: Lucy Gill.
Lauren, a Policewoman: Elaine Holbrook.
Widow Twankey: Josh Rochford.
Prince Char Ming: George Bull.
The Emperor of Hao Hung: Philip Lawrence.
Director: Andrew Beckett.
Designer: David Shields.
Lighting/Video: Richard Lambert.
Musical Director: Matt Randall.
Choreographer: Jodie-Lee Wilde.