Potted Panto by Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner & Richard Hurst. The Garrick Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London to 9 January 2022. 5*****. William Russell.

Potted Panto, that hilarious mishmash of half a dozen much love panto plots, is back for its regular stint in the West End over Christmas and on top form – there are some splendid gags when they get round to messing up Dick Whittington all about dick. Naturall Dick played by Gary Trainor, new to the cast, sports a blond bouffant wig which leads to some deliciously near the knuckle cracks about about how dicks can end up mayors and end up in No Ten. It sounded better after the show when one saw the address to the nation by the resident dick. The show, conceived by Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner and Richard Hurst, has been running for years here there and everywhere. But this time it has received a shot in the arm. Jefferson Turner, one of the two who do the mishmashing is apparently away somewhere and his place has been taken by Gary Trainor who takes to being part of a double act with Clarkson like a duck to water. You could say a dick I suppose. With a little help from other players they run through the plots of everything from Jack in the Beanstalkj to Cinderella and have a massive fallout over whether or not a Christmas Carol is a pantomime. Clarkson, the lank one says it is, Trainer, the small beefy one says not and insists on doing Aladdin. The result is you get both for the price of one. Water pistols are fired into the audience, sweeties are tossed more or less in the direction of small persons who make up a large percentage of those there, and when asked to respond voices are raised which casn probably be heard as far away as Cambridge Circus. I have now seen it three times and it is a case of third time lucky . If you don’t laugh nfrom Cinders in rags to Cinders in glad rags is a joy to behold. There are jokes about balls, about Peppa Pig, about parties held where they ought not to be and not all of them went over the heads of the tiny tots either. It lasts 70 minutes, none of the tots had to be taken out to the loo, and everyone had a wonderful time. No slur on Mr Turner but the injection of Mr Trainor has given it all a shot in the arm – the in thing these days – and this time round an extra star.

Daniel Clarkson
Gary Trainor
Joseph Peters
Charlotte Payne
Kevin Yates.
Director: Richard Hunt.
Set Design: Simon Scullion.
Composer: Phil Innes.
Lighting Designer: Tim Mascall.
Sound Designer: Tom Lishman.
Costume Designer: Nicky Bunch.
Production Photograph: Geraint Lewis.

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