Lost in one of many identical streets in Soho, The Green Carnation doesn’t seem a likely home for the most rib-bustingly funny panto on stage this holiday season. But after checking out five other shows, I’m convinced this is the place to go if you want a really fantastic evening with a holiday theme. Now, it’s only fair to mention this play is not just not suitable for children, it’s to be avoided like the plague by those of a prudish nature: they call it “adult” but it’s not just rude jokes – there are (gasp!) sex toys on stage and way more descriptions of bits and bobs than you’d hear anywhere outside of the staffroom of a GUM clinic. I’d also recommend people that can’t take being teased or interacted with (most likely at the same time) stay home – we had a girl brought on stage and put on the naughty step for not cheering as instructed. I know some people that really wouldn’t enjoy that kind of thing – in fact, I know there’s people who would have rushed out in a huff within the first few minutes of the show starting. Fortunately, none of them were at last night’s show, so we were all free to laugh and sing and poke fun at each other and generally laugh ourselves sick last night. Whee!
The plot is, well, Cinderella, only with Cinderella (The Divine Miss M) being a drag queen (which is really different from being a panto dame). For your extremely rude dame action, we get the two Uglies, Rhiannonnon and Gaga, who are not just homely but positively obnoxious in a way that had me braying like a donkey. Yeah, the jokes (like them) were old and rude, but they (the jokes, and them) were great, and when they (the sisters) got out in the audience and started flirting with anything in trousers and mocking anyone they could get their hands on, well, there was a reason I’d wanted to sit in the front row, and this was it.
Musically speaking this was much more in keeping with what I enjoy, with a rehashing of “Sisters” (from White Christms) and enthusiastic versions of “It’s Raining Men” and “Dancing Queen,” although there was a One Direction song thrown in (complete with cute male dancers in very cheap masks). The energy level stayed high throughout the show, and, frankly, I can hardly imagine more fun for £15. On the other hand, in Soho, who knows? But this was so much fun I think I’ll be going back for a second round before the end of the run. Perhaps this time MY prince will come.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Tuesday, December 10th, 2013. It continues mostly Tues-Thursday through January 5th.)