Director & Writer: Ian Adams
Musical Director: Dave Culling
Panto season is very much upon us and the Lichfield Garrick has produced a fun filled production for all the family. Set in the ‘Wild West Midlands’ the audience knew that this production was going to be far from a typical retelling of one young guy, his beanstalk and his quest to slay the giant and this festive favorite does not let down; from the harp being a princess put under a spell to an airplane being used by some characters to get to the giant.
The cast are the key to the success of this production. A complete ensemble with no tension or egos in sight all work tirelessly together throughout to keep the audience entertained and the plot moving. Special mention has to go to Morgan Scott and Xandy Champken who pull off a tremendous tap dancing Daisy the Cow, along with Dominic Adam Griffin and his vocally sound rendition of Don’t Stop Me Now.
With so much happening on stage and a strong cast who rarely have a few minutes off stage a strong script is needed to glue all of the elements of this production together and that is just what Ian Adams’ script does. The gags at some points has the audience crying rather than laughing but all in all this version of the classic fairytale has something for all the family – including the adults.
The whole audience get involved during the performance and most of the time the adults and parents within the audience are engaging and interacting just as much as the younger audience. This is encouraged mainly by Adams’ own character Dame Trott who manages to turn even the grumpiest of adults back into a big kid. Adams’ character encourages audience involvement just enough through the piece so it’s fun but not overbearing.
Weaved within the plot and more traditional pantomime elements are a range of solid musical numbers. A mixture of specially crafted songs along with some old favorites allows the audience to sing and clap along which all culminates with a massive western medley to conclude. These routines are clever in how they define this performance not just as a panto, but as a musical extravaganza that is much more than your traditional panto.
The production largely is just over two and a half hours of quality family entertainment and there are certain parts that are pure gold. A clever and hilarious version of the 12 days of Christmas along with a fantastic musical number set in the air during Act Two are just two examples that top off this production and move it from being a good production to being a gigantic success.