Thursday, 10 December 2015

Pride & Prejudice The Panto

Nothing says Christmas like panto and this production does not disappoint

Written by Melonie Clarke
MelNothing says Christmas quite like a panto so with that in mind I was already in high spirits when I went to see By Jove's production of the Jane Austen classic.

Despite my high spirits I'll be honest that I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. What I got was a stroke of genius that had me laughing pretty much from the off.

The company first staged the production in 2012 and happily it returns for another run this year.

There were songs (who knew Taylor Swift, the Spice Girls and One Direction could work with a Regency tone!?), there was dancing, cultural references abound – losers of Mrs Bennet's Blind Date got to take away a luxury item; a sanitary towel (politically edged theatre at its best!), and there was the pantomime dame.

Played by James Walker-Black the dame frequently brings the whole show together and James did not disappoint, in fact, I'd say with the number of witty one liners, crude comments, amusing use of accents (I particularly enjoyed his Scottish accent) and for the costume alone, he stole the show.

Happily for audiences though James may shine but he is joined on the stage by a cast which shine just as brightly. Freya Evans who played the part of Jane Austen (in fairy godmother guise) and voiced the broomstick that was Mr Bingly was charming, and Ella Garland as Mr Wickham was just perfect.

All the traditions of panto are there, audience participation, a comedy dame, rhyming couplets, a goodie and a baddie, and a wedding at the end, sweets were even thrown into the audience - I may be 25 but i'll always be excited by sweets! Combine all that with witty writing with up to date cultural references (One Direction and the tampon tax anyone?) and you have a Christmas panto that you will not want to miss.

p-and-p-590-3Ella Garland is Mr Wickham and Sheereen Roushbaiani plays Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet, all with the aid of two hand puppets

This production had me belly laughing through its entirety; at £14 a ticket it's more than money well spent! This show not only proves that panto is alive and well but that you don't need to pay West End prices for a five star performance.

Pride & Prejudice The Panto, until 20th December, The Cockpit: www.thecockpit.org.uk


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