Potted Panto, Garrick Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until January 10, 2021


Potted Panto promises to cram the essence of seven very different pantomimes into seventy minutes; this has the advantage that nothing outstays its welcome. The English panto tradition with its cross-dressing and slapstick dates back well over a hundred years, and many of the original gags remain. Hearing children laughing uproariously at jokes which would have been old when their great-grandparents heard them is a delight in itself. There are topical jokes aplenty but nothing is in bad taste and the jibes involving Boris definitely hit the target. Pointing out that the seven dwarfs are exceeding the rule of six and that a glass of mulled wine now has to be served with the obligatory substantial meal had the audience in stitches. It is a brilliant stroke to mash A Christmas Carol with Aladdin, giving us who else but 'Abanazar' Scrooge. The running gag of having just one handsome prince comes off perfectly, whilst Cinderella's ugly sisters are a dream – OK – a nightmare. Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner work superbly together and also interact anarchically with the audience. The 3D sequence brings everyone together; in fact, not one joke fell flat. Congratulations to the performers and their director Richard Hurst. Wow, do they deliver! It is wonderful to welcome live pantomime back to the West End, and you certainly don't have to be a six-year-old to enjoy this wonderfully mad box of delights.

Rated: ★★★★★ 

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Geraint Lewis.

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