Review: Magical world of Camelot re-created by Burnley panto cast is perfect antidote to January blues and Boris's blunders
What a tumultuous week it has been.
The Prime Minister is being accused of breaking his own laws and the Royal Family are facing a crisis unprecedented in modern times.
I found the perfect antidote to all this mayhem at the opening night of Greenbrook Pantomime Society's 'Camelot- The Panto.'
The cast are finally back on stage after a two year hiatus due to the dreaded covid and their enthusiasm and energy spilled over into the audience who lapped up the comedy, slapstick and music.
Fiona Thompson makes her debut as director with a script by Ben Crocker. Featuring some West End classics mixed with chart hits and Disney songs, the panto tells the timeless story of good versus evil as Prince Arthur, played with ease and elegance by Helen Ingham, aims to win the hand in marriage of Princess Guinevere who was portrayed as sweet but very sassy by Emily Greenall.
But, as always in panto land, nothing is ever straightforward and the prince must defeat the evil force that is Morgan le Fay. Helen Pollard was stunning as Morgan and genuinely scary too. She even enjoyed it when we all booed her!
And although he kept telling us how scary he was Valerin the Vicious was just a big cuddly bear in disguise. Bert Mathewson in the role was excellent and what a fabulous singing voice he has. I would have liked him to do more than just one number. His sidekick was his mum played by panto regular Susan Tighe.
Laughalot played by Martyn Green was in almost every scene and he had the audience in the palm of his hand.
Martyn has a natural talent for comedy and plays slapstick to perfection but he also warmed the hearts of the audience with his love for Nell, played by Olivia Hirst with perfect comedy timing.
And I have to say it's the first time I have seen Merlin the magician played as a cross between Sean Dyche and Phil Mitchell thanks to Nathan Prendergast's unique interpretation.
And there is always someone who almost steals the show and that accolade goes to Ryan Bradley as the 'dame' Connie Clatterbottom. Ryan was hilarious and the audience loved him. He avoided the trap of going 'over the top' and his scenes with Laughalot provided some genuine 'laugh out loud' moments.
Connie's sidekick was a tiny 'bear' played on alternative nights by Imogen B and Elodie L. Watch out for an outstanding performance from these budding little stars.
Michael Dyas played the snooty king and this panto even includes a character no-one can see called Garlon with his partner Marlon played by Laura Wilkinson.
I was very impressed with custom built set and fabulous lighting that added to the atmosphere of the show.
The show, at Greenbrook Methodist Church, runs tonight and tomorrow (Saturday, January 15th) and Thursday to Saturday, January 20th to 22nd.
Tickets are available online at £8 for adults and £5 for juniors plus booking fee. There will be matinee shows at 2pm on both Saturdays.
To book tickets go to https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/greenbrookpanto. Group deals are available by emailing [email protected]