22 Dec

At the Garrick Theatre.

There’s no pantomime this year? Oh yes, there is. And not just one.
At the Garrick, there are six pantos for the price of one.
In the past, Pantos have gone for a couple of hours at least, I remember my children sit stolidly on their seats, chewing whatever confectionary you have provided, eschewing the interval toilets and all in their excitement to finish the story.
Here we have six or seven stories all in the space of seventy minutes with all the necessary noisy elements plus a few extra.
How can this be done? Are Jeff and Dan in league with the devil?
Well perhaps, providing it is a pantomimic one. This witty couple has been doing this job for several years now and they have got it pretty well tied up.
Oh yes, they have.
Dan is the tall one who has a yen to be a principal boy – preferably in The Christmas Carol – a daft idea as it isn’t a pantomime. Jeff tries desperately to make sense of it all – with very little success.
The whole is a rip-roaring hilarious seventy-minutes of fun.
We start with Jack and the Beanstalk. This is a story about a heroic Principal Boy with other typical Panto persons including the Dame – Jack’s mother, Jill – the Principal Girl, The Giant and his creepy Servant, and a Beanstalk. But the essential character of all is Daisy, the cow who is sold for a bag of beans, needing two actors in a cowskin This is a cast of at least seven characters, not counting extra singers, dancers etc.
But we only have two actors and one of them has to play Jack otherwise the story of Jack and the Beanstalk would make little sense, instead we have Jack and half a cow. Daniel wears the bottom half of a cowskin with a removable belt of udders.
Whittington comes next and much is made of the fact that Dick becomes Lord Major of London. To this end, Jeff dons a blond wig and gives us his accurate but very funny version of Boris Johnson, the mayor, dealing with a plague of rats using an outdated track and trace system.
Whittington is rapidly followed by Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, SnowWhite and Aladdin, with a little bit of Christmas Carol thrown in.
The dialogue and performances are witty enough to please the adults – Cinderella is full of references to the Prince’s balls.
Snow White’s seven dwarfs are represented by a lifesize cardboard cutout. They are quickly sent offstage for breaking the ‘six only rule’. Cinders’ Ugly sisters are played by Dan in a two-headed ballgown with added ventriloquism.
This is the perfect and short entertainment using the Covid rules, The theatre has been set out apportioning rows with enough empty seats to solve the distancing problems. It is cleverly done, so the theatre doesn’t seem to be empty
I would recommend this show to grown-ups and children everywhere. There are so many chances to shout out “He’s behind you” and “Oh no there isn’t”
But the most exciting bit is the chase in Cinderellas coach, here we all have to stand up and gallop through the story. It manages to use up a lot of energy and gives you a good workout.
This is the thing boys and girls of all ages. The Potted Panto is the six and a half pantos you need to see.
Duration of the show — seventy minutes
Age recommended 6+
Tickets from £20
Family ticket £70 for four
Box Office 0330 333 4811
Streamprice £15 plus £3 fee

Sadly, the live performances of the West End season of the Olivier nominated Potted Panto have been suspended until 9th January 2021 and will then run until 24th January
Good news for them and all of you who have missed Panto this Christmas. Due to the enormous response to the Christmas season. They are to return to the East End for Easter.
It is an old tradition for Pantos to run from Christmas to Easter. Like old times Except for the pandemic closing them in the middle.
The Potted Panto will be at the Garrick Theatre from the 1 – 18 April 2021 to cover the 26 shows cancelled because of Covid 19
Current bookings for the cancellations may be refunded, or transferred to the Easter dates

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