Writer: Tom Whalley
Director: Charlotte Peters
Last year, Panto Live produced their first pantomime online and this Easter they have remastered the Christmas production to help keep the family entertained at Easter. Using all the elements of a traditional panto with an added perk of the chance to take part, it’s a fun fairytale adventure with some unique interactive features.
While it’s easy to follow story is great for younger members of the family, the first act would benefit from the slick pacing of the second or perhaps another musical number to enhance what is a very wordy book. While it creates the potential for a musical number, Cinderella’s father Baron Hardup seems very underused.
However, the script by Tom Whally is full of humour that will make the whole family smile, from cracking jokes to naughty innuendo and even a bit of slapstick the production contains all the elements of an enjoyable panto.
Jessica Ellis’ overly dramatic entrances pose as the Evil Stepmum bring a smile to the face, while Tim Churchill and Steve Fortune are right at home in the roles of the Ugly Stepsisters.
Cuan Durkin and Katy Clayton make a sweet pairing as Prince Charming and Cinderella and Chris Johnson is a delight as Buttons who, along with the Stepsisters have some quirky and amusing moments with some members of the audience.
Audience members can request shout outs before the show and can also request to be involved in the show and it’s a clever way of using technology to bring audience involvement to an online panto, something that’s such a core element of the panto experience but has lacked in the world of social distancing and closed venues.
All audience members also get buttons on their device to press when they want to boo, cheer, aww to their heart’s content. It would be great if these interactive sound effects could be used more in the future, perhaps a way to see in real-time what the watching audience is tapping. Otherwise, you may as well scream and shout to your heart’s content in pure panto style.
Filmed on a green screen, there were some quirky moments and special effects but a couple of moments would have benefitted from a re-edit where the technology didn’t work as well as it could. There were also one of two Christmas jokes that survived the remastering although some new Easter ones have been included.
This all being said, there’s a lot to admire with this panto. It needs a little finesse but with its lighthearted script, glitzy musical numbers and larger than life characters this is something to entertain, particularly those with younger members of the family, over the Easter weekend.
This production was gifted in exchange for a review. Rating based on a £14.95 cost which means you get unlimited access to the performances remaining. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating