It really is a fantastic family show. Dan and Jeff’s performance and delivery gives a little bit of something to every age-group.
Sometimes when you’re a blogger, doing stuff with the family, there’s often a thought of – ‘Urgh, I need to write about this’. It’s usually true if you’ve been invited somewhere to ‘review’ it. I’ve usually making notes in the back of my mind about every detail, I tend not to enjoy it as much as I should.
We were offered tickets to see the ‘Potted Panto’ at the Garrick Theatre, London this weekend. There was no requirement of me writing it up, or reviewing it. So, I switched off and just enjoyed being with the family and settling down to seeing a pantomime. You might be wondering –
“Why are you writing this ?”
Well, I wanted to tell you all just how GOOD this production is. Admittedly, the premise seemed a bit bizarre. Two actors – Dan and Jeff (Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner) performing 7 classic pantomimes in just 80 minutes. Pantomimes are often epic shows, with large ensembles, spread over several hours. Could seven, performed by two people, squeezed into a short timeframe work?
Quite simply – Yes – And here’s why
Children have short attention spans, and wild imaginations. A lengthy show, with over the top production isn’t always ideal. These bitesized shows, where the action is fast paced and storytelling is engaging for the audience make for Potted Panto perfection. Despite it suggested that the audience should be 6+, J at 4 1/2 was utterly spellbound. I think the age suggestion is more for the fact the theatre’s auditorium isn’t suited for small people (no booster seats). It’s not just for the small folk, G had a permanent grin and a wicked cackle for the 80 minutes.
During the show, they explain some of the Panto rituals that we observe – “He’s behind you!” “Oh no it isn’t” etc. This was helpful for J, who is relatively new to Pantomime as an art. After the initial explanations from the cast, him and the rest of the auditorium were all joining in. It was interesting to have these explained, rather than just assumed, and I think the resulting interaction was stronger too.
Dan and Jeff are extremely good at what they do, it has the fun and froth of a traditional Pantomime, but it feels like a more intimate affair. They corpsed several times, and it felt ‘right’, they are clearly very good friends, and the chemistry makes for a more genuine performance. There was wonderful frisson throughout the show and the Potted Panto crew got the rapturous applaud it deserved as the show finished.
It really is a fantastic family show. Dan and Jeff’s performance and delivery gives a little bit of something to every age-group. There’s the silliness and slapstick that kids enjoy, and sarcastic, caustic observational humour for the grown-ups. I enjoyed watching it, and also loved seeing how excited the children were by it. It was particularly sweet that before the show started, Dan was wandering around the auditorium saying hello to the audience. It’s a shame he wasn’t doing it after – he’d have got a pat on the back from me for a job well done.
If you can – go! Potted Panto plays until January 15th 2017. Performances are at 1pm and 4pm every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with an extra performance at 11am on Saturday.
The running time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes, including a 10 minute interval.
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