I can’t remember how many times he’s hung up his red shoes but Kenneth Alan Taylor just can’t resist it. He’s back playing the dame in his 29th successive panto at Nottingham Playhouse and it’s an absolute joy - bright, fresh and side-splittingly funny.
He brings a gleam of anarchy to his archetypal, masculine Nurse Nelly Noggins, whether demurely clad as Brown Owl or ridiculously garbed in a medieval chastity belt. His Gangnam-style exhibition with John Elkington as the Sheriff of Nottingham gets encore after encore.
This is a panto cast that, apart from newcomer, Tim Frater, has worked together for years. The parts are written to their strengths and they have the easy, ad-libbing rapport of old friends, with each other and with the audience - who can’t get enough of doing the jazz hands and roaring “Oh, no! Not the Sheriff of Nottingham!”
On Tim Meacock’s exquisitely frosted set, there are no pyros, no dry ice, no gimmicks, no technological wizardry of any kind. I can’t even remember a sound effect. Carried on a tide of affection, with clear, convinced acting, strong singing and dancing, a fluent script and a good story, it’s a warm and wonderful night.