Writer: Paul Hendy
Director: Sam Rabone
Evolution Pantomimes partners up with the Lichfield Garrick for the third year running and this time it seems the Garrick has handed the reigns firmly over to Evolution as Sam Rabone not only returns as the Dame, but also as Director.
Paul Hendy’s script contains all the elements you’d expect from a traditional panto. From the local references inserted, to the slapstick routines and comedy. While the jokes are quite funny, the script was a little dry and it was down to the cast to bring out the laughs. It’s not clear if it was in the script or not but Ashley Emerson as the title lead, changing the name of Tommy the Cat is enjoyable to watch.
Since taking over as the regular Lichfield dame a couple of years ago, Sam Rabone is certainly a good pull for the crowds and he does well at directing the performance too. His admiration for this genre of theatre is very clear, from the performance he puts in as the Dame to the traditional elements he encapsulates in the direction of the piece. There’s even a throwback moment when sweets (well sweet) is given out to the audience which was a nice touch for those who remember the days when the Dame threw bundles of treats to the awaiting crowd which is now a rarity.
It’s not just Rabone who makes a return this year. Ben Thornton is back re-recruiting his gang. Rabone and Thornton are the perfect Panto duo. Their chemistry together is infectious and is shown most prominently in a scene with a rocking boat and dashings of shaving foam. What could possibly go wrong? Luckily for the audience, enough to keep you laughing throughout.
This year there was a first for Lichfield, an element of 3D is used in the performance with stellar results. You could hear the trembles around the theatre screaming with terror as when you get up close and personal with a range of sea life creatures.
There are musical numbers throughout, with chart-topping hits and char topping musicals peppered throughout. The use of Hamilton was particularly clever. The choreography was well executed by both the professional performers, and the local young cast who joined them.
This panto is well executed, set within a lavish set and topped off with a talented cast. Although perhaps the script could have done with a bit of a refresh, overall it’s a very enjoyable pantomime and one that is a delight to watch.
*Decision based on a Ticket value price of £23.50.For more info on this new value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating