PANTOMIMES 2013/2014

Riverfront Theatre, Newport

Tuesday December 3rd 2013 - Sunday 5th January 2014

Written by Daniel O'Brien, Directed by Colin Blumenau.
Musical Director: Gareth Wyn Griffiths.   Choreographer: Emma Goodwin
Cast includes: Ricard Elis, Elin Llwyd, Lee Mengo, Jay Worthy, Robert Vernon, Lizzie Franks, Nerine Skinner, Michael Onslow.

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Published Monday 9 December 2013 at 11:20 by Susie Wild

beauty logoJoyeux Noel! This festive season Hiss and Boo and The Riverfront whisk us off to France for their alliterative take on this popular fairy tale. The show features a splendid medley of Queen songs and a deliciously dastardly baddie in Scaramouche, played by Pantoland veteran Jay Worthy: “Roses are red, violets are blue, God made me handsome, he forgot about you.” On his sixth pantomime at The Riverfront, Lee Mengo (Stella, One Chance) also knows what he’s doing and gathers further laughs as dame Dominique Derriere.

All the expected panto elements are here and executed well, including an accelerated Twelve Days of Christmas song (with frogs legs, smelly cheeses and Eiffel Towers), a slapstick wallpapering scene, the cancan, a talking tree and a tap dancing number. Kids laugh loudest at the bright and brash comedy duo Baguette (Nerine Skinner) and Croissant (Lizzie Franks) and their special handshakes and 90s pop song dance routine with numbers like PJ and Duncan’s Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble.

It is also worth mentioning that the children of Newport playing the parts of villagers and peasants are all confident and dancing in sequence and in time, thanks to the choreographer Emma Goodwin.


“It was traditional panto and exceptionally well done.”

Read full review

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It's time to join the race against time to unlock the evil Scaramouche's curse! Beauty and the Beast is the spell-binding story of a selfish prince who is destined to spend the rest of his life hidden in his castle in the guise of a grotesque beast. Resourceful heroine Belle, our Beauty, rushes to the rescue with her madcap French pals. Can our heroine save the day and learn to love the Beast? Crammed with comedy chaos, magical music and plenty of seasonal sparkle! There will be our baddie Scaramouche wanting your boos, potty panto Dame Monique Malmaison and her slapstick son Pascal with their crazy hare-brained capers to keep audiences on the edge of their seats! C'est Magnifique!

The Hall for Cornwall, Truro

Sunday 15th December 2013 - Sunday 11th January 2014


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Written by Andrew Emerson.
Director / Choreographer: Stewart Nicholls.
Musical Director: Richard Healey
Cast includes : Granville Saxton, Joanna  Monro,  Daniel Cane, Dean Nolan,  Suzanne Ahmet, Andreas Gyllander, Stuart Maciver, Stan Pretty.

Western Morning News, December 19th 2013

ugly sistersFor a healthy dose of razzle dazzle, look no further than the Hall for Cornwall’s production of Cinderella, this year’s offering from the Hiss and Boo Company.

It’s got handsome heroes, ugly villains, slapstick, bad puns, colourful costumes and toe-tapping tunes. What more do you want from a pantomime?

This plot takes a few liberties with the classic story: sweet Cinderella (Nichola Lagan) meets Prince Charming (Andreas Gyllander – a dashing Swede) in the woods. He has swapped places with his valet, Dandini. Both are instantly smitten, to the dismay of  lovelorn Buttons (local-boy-made-comedy-good Dean Nolan).

The prince decides the only way he can find the anonymous maiden again is to hold a royal ball and... well you know the rest.

With Cinderella’s stepmother travelling the world, it is left to her ugly stepsisters Detoxica (Daniel Crane) and Botoxica (Granville Saxton) to steal the show. The cross-dressing cronies do not disappoint. Their costumes commit federal crimes against fashion – and occasionally gravity – and their ribald ribs keep the over-12s chuckling.

Dedicated Hall for Cornwall fans may recognise Botoxica as Abanazer, the villain of last year’s show: his CV is a litany of baddies, from Dracula to Hook to Voldemort’s right-hand death eater. But he seems to enjoy taking his basso profundo up a few octaves to flirt with the dads in the front rows.

The friendly fairy godmother (Joanna Monro) and Cinderella’s forgetful father Baron Hardup (Stan Pretty) give charming performances, and the ensemble, including local children, enact the many song-and-dance numbers with great verve.

Special mention must be made of Cinderella’s carriage, which glides on a cloud of dry ice into the sky, as her magical mouse-cum-horse sprouts Pegasus wings.

True to form, Hiss and Boo is careful not to omit any classic panto ingredients: the “it’s behind you” scene, the cream pie in the face, the singalong, and the “oh yes it is” sequence. Scenery and costumes are bright and charming, and the music features well-known hits across the generations.

If I had any complaint it was that the simple magic of the story was overshadowed by the razzle dazzle and woops-a-daisy, and perhaps that the music was a rather bewildering hash of any song you’ve ever heard. Also, the only proper slapstick was a baking scene that was a bit long and laboured – I expect this will adapt through the run.

But those are just quibbles really. This is a pacey, bright production full of talent, fun for the eyes and ears, and lots of laughs for everyone. It’s guaranteed to lift your winter gloom. Go and see it!

Corn Exchange, Newbury

Friday 29th November 2013 at 7 p.m. - Sunday 5th January 2014


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Written and directed by Phil Willmott. Choreographer Holly Hughes.
Cast includes: Joe Wicks, Matthew Grace, Natalie Harman, Anthony Topham, Charlotte Whitaker.

“Forget the washed-up soap opera stars and former celebrities, when it comes to family-friendly pantomime fun, Newbury Corn Exchange is the place to go”

This year’s production, Jack and the Beanstalk, has great costumes, sets and performances, lots of local and contemporary references and no star egos on the bill.

Joseph Wicks has many funny lines and double entendres as the Brummie Dame Trott, and when she gets into financial difficulties it is of course her phone bill that she decides not to pay.

But Squire Wrong ‘Un (Anthony Topham) still tries to get her to take out one of his exorbitant pay-day loans. When he’s not doing that, he goes off to cut disability benefits and evict people from their homes.

Despite the squire’s worst efforts, Jack still falls in love with Jill, who can’t decide if she wants a career in fashion, the media or quantum physics.

Fairy Candice (Natalie Harman) has a great voice and perennial favourite Matthew Grace is once again unlucky in love as Beansprout.

The impressive giant turns out not to be so bad after all, just misunderstood, and the victim of pay-day loan mis-selling, while his goose has mislaid her Midas touch.

Blur’s Country House is a welcome addition to the pantomime repertoire and Call Me Maybe gets everyone in the audience involved for the triple-wedding finale.

Writer and director Phil Willmott has laid another golden egg in Newbury.


View the Newbury Jack & the Beanstalk TRAILER
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jack 2013 2Discovery, adventure, mayhem, mischief and roaring fun… grab your family and friends, it’s pantomime time in Newbury Bottom!

Join Jack, Jill and the whole gang on the adventure of a lifetime. From high-flying dreams to magical beans, scary ghosts and enormous beans on toast – be transported to a magical village where anything is possible.

Climb the beanstalk with Jack, walk on sunshine, dance with us in the clouds and enjoy a feel-good theatrical experience you will never forget.

The 2012  2011  2010  2009 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 2003 and 2002 season pantomimes are archived here

Read "Pantomime - a Uniquely British Tradition"