The skill in performing pantomime is that you must get the audience on your side from the off and Two Little Pantos – namely Dick Whittington and Mother Goose written and directed by Robert Pearce – achieves this because Pearce knows how to stage a show where audience participation is key to having a rousing romp unfold. The emphasis is on the boos and cheers and having the audience have a gleeful and joyous time. Pearce as Sarah the Cook in Act 1 and then Mother Goose in Act 2 and his fellow cast members – especially Ant Payne as King Rat in Dick and Colin in Goose – just ‘go for it’, ad libbing, going off book and responding to the inevitable heckles with a wit and charm that could possibly have phased less seasoned professionals.
The satire and political comment is performed with such exuberance that the laughs come thick and fast even when the plot of the panto focuses on greed, selfishness, misogyny and the absurdity of the political arena where Amanda Swift as Demon Vanity in Goose does a rather fab send up of Trump. The rhyming script is expertly executed in true panto tradition and when the action calls for slapstick farce each of the cast members hold their own, each delivering good comic timing in their running gags. This is witty stuff with Pearce firmly putting his finger on the world’s current top stories and topics. Energetic fun and worth a view. One of the better pantos doing the rounds showcasing the genre’s vitality and to be more precise, how it should be done.
Photos by Jack Atkins