Last week t I attended the annual pantomime at The Pavilion Theatre in Worthing. I had a great night last year so I had high hopes. They know how to put on an evening here, with amazing canopes, a photo booth and a fully stocked bar. Let me start this review by saying I study the art of musical theatre for around 30 hours a week and I’m constantly surrounded by the most immense talent every day so naturally, I’m a harsh critique of things like this but I do understand that a panto is meant to be a fun night out for all the family – indeed it was!
Did I have high expectations? Not particularly. This isn’t the Oliver awards. However, after last years performance of the lovely Cassie Compton (who I loved in The Wedding Singer), I was waiting for another show stopper or gorgeous duet. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that. The two main characters, Aladin and Jasmine sang a Rita Ora (why?) song and although it was lovely and pretty- nothing mind-blowing. I loved the opening of ‘The Greatest Show’. It’s such a feel-good song so a perfect, current choice to open up with. It could have done with some more harmonies though, as did most of the songs. They also ended with ‘This is Me’, another banger. Aladin, played by steps star Lee Latchford-Evans, had a great voice and I think he could have shown it off way more with some more belty songs! The Mums in the room LOVED the steps mashup at the end, as did I. I would have loved some more choral, harmony moments from the ensemble.
As you can imagine, this show was full of jokes. It was really funny, with some great current references and some classic panto gags. ALL the classics were in there. The storyline was as expected and done really well. I loved the Drag character, Dave Lynn, as Widow Twankey (golden opportunity to call him Twinkie missed there!). The stars of the show for me in terms of character were Vikki Stone as the evil Abanazar. She was so funny and I loved the Kim Woodburn voice! I’ve never actually heard of Vikki’s stand up before but I’m interested now. Mark Jones was also great at sidekick Wishee Washy. One of my favourite aspect to pantos is when they make jokes about the local area and people- all done really well.
The ensemble for this was amazing! Every time the girls did a high kick, I looked at my Mum in shock. They’re all clearly straight out of a top drama school. My issue is that these girls are probably also insane singers, so why are they not the main characters? I understand how you need star quality to sell a show but I’d personally rather see pure talent than a minor celebrity. The standard of dance was great and it was really inspiring. The actress playing the female Genie was also great and I’d love to have seen more of her. There was also a great magic carpet stunt, pulled off really well!
I wasn’t going to include this as I don’t think I can say much on the matter. The issue of portraying different ethnicities is such a massive topic at uni and something I’ve discussed with many people. How appropriate or necessary is it for people to play characters of different races and religions? It’s a tough subject with so many different opinions (remember the all-white cast who did hairspray a few years ago? thank u next) but at the end of the day, it’s a panto. It’s meant to be fun and it’s not exactly spreading the message of equality. These storylines are slightly dated but I enjoyed it none the less. Maybe in the future, it would be nice to see some storylines promoting gender equality, strong women and diversity. This isn’t taking anything away from this production though, just something I thought I’d mention.
I had a great night in Worthing, drinking wine and having a laugh with my family. All the other audience members around me were loving it- no matter what the age. The costumes, set, lighting and sound were all incredible not to mention the band. If you want a fun, festive night to get you into the spirit- head down to The Pavillion Theatre. Thanks so much to Stephen and The Theatre for having us! Book here.