Since my initial exposure to the great British tradition known as “Panto,” I’ve been trying to see a new show every year. Sure, you all know that Aladdin features the Widow Twankey and Cinderella has Buttons, but if you grew up reading plain old fairy tales like me, you would have never learned about these things. This year I managed to see two new (to me) shows: Robin Hood (in Greenwich) and Snow White at the New Wimbledon. Now, I was a bit attracted by the idea of seeing Priscilla Presley; but mostly what I wanted to see was a panto I hadn’t seen before.
And WOW! Panto tradition that I had missed? The seven dwarves were ACTUALLY persons of reduced height, midgets and dwarves (if I understand the nomenclature correctly). I had never seen that many of them at the same time and was actually blown away. As a bonus, the seven of them were REALLY talented, as actors, comics, and with physical humor, and I couldn’t believe what a shedload of British specialty actors I was having the privilege to see on stage at the same time (star: Warwick Davis as “the Prof”). All of the best moments were when they were on stage: my very favorite was when they rescued Snow White and took her to their cottage in their woods, then sang a “House of Fun”/”Our House” medley while GIANT SQUIRRELS AND DEER AND BUNNIES DANCED AROUND THE STAGE. I mean, GIANT BUNNIES AND MADNESS that was my ticket covered RIGHT THERE. They had a show stealing end thing that I’d mention (as it was my second favorite point in the night), but I’d like to keep it a secret so you can enjoy it on your own.
The sad thing, though, is what a flabby and lifeless evening it was otherwise. Not only could Mrs Presley not act, she could barely remember her lines (making her exit comment about it rather ironic) and was outacted by each and every one of the dwarves, including the one who didn’t talk (but did a great Susan Boyle interpretation). And the two sidekicks, the henchman and the jester, just weren’t funny. The audience responded by being flat and unresponsive; they didn’t take the clue and speed up their timing or cut the unfunny stuff, and we could have about been watching a movie for as much as we were interacted with. LAAAAME.
But, you know, it was only 15 quid: and I saw 7 little people jigging with people in funny animal costumes to some of the favorite songs of my youth; so I got my money’s worth and it was all over at 9:30 so I got a good night’s sleep to boot. Worth what I paid but generally flabby.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 and was my FIRST OFFICIAL SHOW of the year. Oh well.)