21 Dec



JOHN SAVOURNIN in one of the tallest actors in the business and sometimes he plays pantomime Dame. But why on earth did he decide to portray Snow White. His costume, designed by Holly Piggott from Walt Disney is like the one that Snow White wears in the popular film. This is a different story with the occasional odd hint of the original. So, is Savournin totally insane? No, he is totally humorous and is extraordinarily funny towering over the rest of the company in his pretty little Snow White frock. This story has give work to a couple of singing young women to play the two principal boys. Emily Cairns as the handsome Prince Larry and the Dandini character (quietly nicked from Cinderella story but is now named Harry so that they can do rhyming jokes throughout) is played by Meriel Cunningham. It isn’t all that much of a surprise that he turns into a frog halfway through. Oops spoiler warning! Jenny Jacobs is very beautiful and evil as the wicked Queen who relies on her mirror to supply the flattery she needs.. The mirror is played voice only by Mark Gattiss, Ian Hallard and Marcus Fraser. I don’t know whether it is all at once, or one at a time, but tis not mine to wonder why and they didn’t hand out any information on that point. In order to keep the production correctly socially distanced that is the cast in its entirety.

The Charles Court pantomime usually takes place at the King’s Head, but of course like all theatres the King’s Head has been closed, so here is a Charles Court boutique pantomime which has to be watched online. I suggest that you invite a friend or two – however you are allowed to have- because there is a lot of possible audience participation which doesn’t work all that well if you are watching it alone. There are written orders to shout throughout things like “He’s Behind you” and “oh no he isn’t” without which there can be no panto at all. So join up with your bubble – have a glass of something fizzy and laugh and shout your hearts away. It is difficult to plan ahead as we cannot tell from one day to the next what will be allowed to do.

But we mustn’t start on that. it sounds like politics.

It is an extraordinary take on the old story. John Savournin and David Eastern have devised, written and musicalised the production in their usual brilliant fashion and of course the cast sing like angels whenever singing is required – they don’t just spend their whole time acting daft. The play is full of Panto gags and has some of the beautiful songs for which the company is famous.

The set designer is George Johnson-Leigh. One of the useful things about work online is that the set designer can go to town on the sets as they don’t have to be all in the same place at the same time.. Ben Peckergill is the lighting man, and choreography is by David Hulston. John Savournin directs.

The Charles Court Opera is one of the leading companies providing Chamber operas and music theatre. It is their 14th annual pantomime and the 6th with the Kings Head Theatre. The Company are also famed for their productions of Gilbert and Sullivan in small spaces. Their HMS Pinafore had won them an offie for their production. and they recently produced a new and rather startling production of the Mikado which I think is one of the most successful versions of that favourite operetta. Nevertheless, they also concentrate on new work and perform it at various venues, pub theatres to concert halls.

The producers are aware of all the members of the profession who are not able to work this year and a share of the profits will be donated to the Theatre Artist Fund. A fund that has proved a lifwe saver for money during this terrible period.

It is available to stream from MOnday 14th December until Thursday 31st December.

Duration is 60 minutes

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