You Will Love This Panto....Oh, Yes You Will!

Cinderella

Theatre Severn

Wednesday 30th December 2016–Sunday 8th January 2017

(All show times available from T7 Box  office)

Here’s a bet for any takers. Go out and try to find a pantomime better than, or even par with this amazing show.

One thing Theatre Severn has always done well is the panto. Names like Paul Hendy, Eric Smith and Brad Fitt will forever stay synonymous with great pantos and for giving us all a welcome break from the hustling, bustling festive season.  It is like a beacon shining  above all others and contrary to all the ad men’s claims: Christmas certainly begins at Theatre Severn, and what a start!

It was an unusual approach this year for the archetypal panto dame Brad Fit . He shed his usual dresses and stepped out as a highly credible and thoroughly engaging Buttons. For the regular panto goers it was great to see the man who normally wears the frock, stepping out and showing what he can do without it. He is a star.

There is an expression, funny bones, Brad Fitt has them. He could read the phone book out and would crease people with a hilarity. This is talent that can’t be learnt this is natural raw ability. It is a blessing for Theatre Severn their two paths crossed and now Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas until Brad Fitt makes us laugh!

Ditto BBC Shropshire’s Eric Smith. Here  is another performer that has been delighting audiences now in this Panto group for fifteen years. Always a lovable but  beleaguered Baron with a heart of gold. Again the stage would be bare at Christmas without him. If you are going to the show this year,one is scared of giving too much away but allow me to leak this,  if you see Eric’s P word alliteration speech you too will see a great example of comedy timing and wonderful line delivery. Well done Eric!

Victoria Mc.Cabe’s Cinderella, is beautifully played. There is such pathos in that poor little scullery maid’s life. She wins the audience over immediately and everyone in the theatre seemed intent on loving her and supporting her throughout her trials. Not only was she received well , Joanne Heywood’s Fairy Godmother is also a delightful part and played so beautifully. Please can we all have just three wishes for Christmas, Fairy GM?

The Uglies played by Ian Smith and Matt Daines, are extremely clever. Quite apart from consistently wowing the audience with their speedy costume changes they just gelled. They work well together and they are so funny. More like uglies for the twenty first century, their references and conventions were all recognisable from the modern world. They are just a little spiteful but in the eyes of the children ultimately redeemable.

The busy village scenes were colourful, full  and interesting. The young children all acting and interacting with the principals, performed their dances so skilfully, one is highly impressed with the amount of work that they must have put in and the professional way they conduct themselves on stage. This is all highly impressive and it  also naturally highlights great directional skill from Brad and wonderful, eye for detail, choregraphy from Sarah Langley.

It is lovely to see the traditional characters, possibly even one of the oldest known to Panto and traceable back to the days of the Italian Commedia dell’arte; isDandini, played by Phil Butler, this Dandini is one to see. He is superb and quite a juggler!

One could talk all night about the lavish costumes or the magical almost emotional end to the first half, one could wax about the technical side, the lights, sound and set design, yes indeed one could write paragraphs on their brilliance: but why spoil it for you? Go and see it for yourself this is a show that can be happily, hand on heart, recommended for everybody young and old alike.

This year has been a particularly strong year for the Theatre’s programming. Regular readers will know that Theatre Severn and Walker Theatre are theatres of excellence.  However it would be remiss if I didn’t say that this pantomime is a crowning glory on the year. Go and see and I bet you'll laugh your Christmas socks off.

One thing I don’t do, as a rule is over emphasise the fact that at the bottom of this review you can twitter the article or share on social media. Spread it with me. Theatre Severn deserves to sell out and this pantomime is crying out for as many people to see it as humanly possible.

To all the staff of Theatre Severn, the Pantomime Cast, all actors that have played the house throughout the year and you yourself personally, I want to wish an extremely Merry Christmas and hope every wish comes true for you in 2017!

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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