Peter Rowe’s rock pantos are always a Christmas highlight and this 1950s set, non-stop entertainment is the freshest yet. When I say freshest I don’t mean that the jokes and routines are new, they just emerge as though for the first time.
Phylip Harries’ Sarah the Cook selects a male audience member for ritual humiliation but does it with an elaborate and unusual audience division. He also gets a visual joke in the walk down that is blissfully unexpected.
Similarly James Haggie’s Billy and Daniel Lloyd’s Alderman Fitzwarren share a supplies counting routine with a puppet rat that is utterly familiar yet achingly funny. Meanwhile Alex Parry causes mayhem as the grossest, slimiest Elvis/Hell’s Angel inspired King Rat you could fear for in your nightmares.
Ben Gerrard is a Dick of charm, particularly when he sings. Suzi Power is a superb Alice, sweet with Dick, tempted by King Rat’s dark side and every inch an uptown girl. They are ably abetted by Maddie Cole’s perky Fairy Bow Bells and Francesca Gosling’s athletic Taffy the Cat.
It’s loud, it’s funny, it’s spectacular, it’s toe-tapping, it’s a bright and brash treat. Oh yes, and the furry rats are gloriously comic.