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We last went to the panto at the same venue a couple of years ago, but that time we had sat in the STALLS. THIS time we'd been invited by a chum who had splashed out (about four months ago when there were bargains) on a BOX. I've never been in A BOX at The Theatre before, and found the whole experience Quite Luxurious. It was right up by the stage, so you had to lean out sometimes to see what was going on, but it was dead nice being in your own private little ROOM. If I ever get to do something like that then I will investigate taking a PICNIC!
The show itself was Quite Good, but much like last time I found myself taking NOTES throughout. It was the penultimate show of the run (with the last one that evening) so I thought it would be full of LARKING ABOUT and also EXTRA BUSINESS but it was actually played Very Straight Indeed. Almost TOO straight in places - the whole show stuck very firmly to The Story, so there wasn't much in the way of topical gags, and the Jokes That Only Grown-Ups Will Understand came thick and fast for the first ten minutes, and then petered out in favour of Getting Children To Dance, which, to be fair, was FAB. Is "flossing" on The National Curriculum, or are The Young People just very mobile these days?
The cast were GRATE throughout, though there were bits where, if I had been DIRECTING, I would have said "No, that line is a JOKE, try saying it as such." It's WEIRD - on the rare occasions I have encountered Actual Actors they never seem to notice JOKES and have to have them pointed out, but then try and do OTHER lines as jokes that AREN'T. Do they not teach GAGS at RADA, or is it Advanced Flossing instead?
One thing they definitely DID do properly though was Mention Local Places e.g. when they had to go into the forest it was EPPING FOREST, the shops were Westfield, the palace was in Stratford etc etc. It is always weirdly exciting to hear Somewhere You Live mentioned like this, I must remember to add it to my Things Everyone Likes list, along with Seeing Two Or More People Moving In Unison and Finishing On A Song.
In fact, I must remember to send that list round Theatres next year. Come on, PANTO BOOKERS, call me!
posted 15/1/2019 by MJ Hibbett
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