by JEREMY KINGSTON for the Times
published: December 19, 2006
The Empire has a reputation for presenting the best pantos in London and this time Hackney’s Pantoland is Hackney itself. Cinderella is abducted to Lee Valley Wood, and the wicked stepmother gives herself airs because she hails from Bethnal on the Green. If it’s an insult to call the horse Clapton, the fault is redeemed by transforming it into an impressively airworthy Pegasus to take the heroine off to the palace ball.
by SAM MARLOWE for the Times
published: December 21, 2006
If you’re after a traditional panto with plenty of sparkle, pop-up picturebook sets and a dash of gentle naughtiness this Christmas, this production, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, is for you. From the moment it begins, with a toe-tapping rendition of the Scissor Sisters’ I Don’t Feel Like Dancing (with lyrics suitably tweaked for maximum positivity — let’s just say that Joanna Kirkland’s pretty Cinders can’t wait to cut a rug), this is unmistakably a slick and shiny operation.
Panto: Oh yes it is an art form!more...
by MICHAEIL COVENEY for the Independent
published: 21 December 2006
What these notable thespians really meant was that they were going to be appearing in a pantomime (to make lots of money) and therefore it must be seen to be respectable and they must be doing the genre a big favour. To which the only possible response is, oh, no, it isn't, and oh, no, they weren't. The argument arose because a producing hegemony - Qdos, the purveyor of stars and glitter to the provinces these many years - was challenged by the very company, First Family Entertainment, a wing of the Ambassador Theatre Group, for which it supplied the "product". FFE played the "we're-going-to-make-pantomime-great-again" card (it employed Callow, Hampshire and Wilson), but in the end, it was just the same dear old stuff.
Confessions of a part-time panto actormore...
by SIMON CRUMP for the Guardian
published: December 22, 2006
My role in the Forestry Commission panto in the Lake District was small, but I like to think that in later years, when the books get written, it will be recognised as being a pivotal role that was crucial to the integrity of the piece. And I only volunteered to play the role of Crumplestiltskin to prove to the foresters that their writer-in-residence was not too stuck-up to join in the festive fun.