Superpowers Panto – Extant & Simply Smiley Productions – The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, 2 March 2023 and touring through March. 4****, Rod Dungate

This panto is all focused on a handful of energetic and committed performances.  And although it does not have all the thousands of pounds of elaborate scenery, it does have an immensely ingenious set – a giant size book which opens to different pages for rapidly changing scenes.

Vision Impaired Sally is nervous of going into the city, but she wants to get to the Observatory.  She is aided by Yin and Yang (the Observatory staff), three suitably tough city blackbirds, and her Mum. She is thwarted by the posh, boater wearing Brat Pack.  All ends happily of course, with Sally finding confidence and, we think, love.

Great ensemble work, big, broad-brush characterisations.   From the team, Jasmin Thien, as Sally holds our attention with ease.  Like Sally in the play, Jasmin will, I am certain, grow in confidence with her role and ability to connect with us in the audience.  Slightly invidious to highlight any other performances, but Chloe Driver as Sally’s Mum is a great success, and her role as the dive-bombing blackbird, Bomber– say no more, but the bombs are supposed to bring good luck.

Lots of interaction to keep young and not-so-young audiences engaged.  And an hilarious, mad-cap chase.

Extant specialize in work with and for vision impaired people; in this production (skillfully directed by Maria Oshodi & Shannon McNab) employs Audio Description by Stealth.  In other words, the audio description is built into the script; sighted and sight impaired audience members are treated with equality.  However, Superpowers Panto will be much enjoyed by sighted and non-sighted audiences alike.  So,give yourselves a treat.


Directors: Maria Oshodi & Shannon McNab, Writers: Paula Connolly & Kelly Griffiths, Designer: Rhianna Molina, Design Consultant: Jo Paul, Lighting: Crin Claxton, Sound: Ian Rattray, Stage Manager: Jainie Wakefield


Jasmine Thien, Steven George, Angela Eyton, Chris Biddle, Chloe Driver

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