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What's On



Published Thursday 13 December 2012 at 14:38 by Roger Foss

The first pantomime at the recently refurbished former Neptune Theatre contains all the traditional fairytale elements and plenty of saucy hilarity - but is so overwritten that it ought to begin with “Once upon a very long time”.

Bursting through the fourth wall with down-to-earth characters and a super-charged dance team, what makes the production initially so enjoyable is its ability to generate enough energy to power the National Grid. Philip Olivier sets the switched-on tone with his interactive Buttons. Strutting the stage in dazzling designer bling, Liverpool songstress Sonia lifts the temperature as the horrid step-mum from hell. Alison Crawford’s feisty Cinderella is every little girl’s super-hero, and teenager Stuart Campbell acquits himself in his professional debut as Prince Charming. Even celebrity Nikki Grahame has plenty of go as the Fairy Godmother - although a magic spell might improve her singing.

When Michael Chapman and Brian Dodd arrive as street-wise ugly sisters, ASBO havoc is let loose. Tracy and Stacy are gloriously garish comic creations, but over-reliance on their presence proves counter-productive story-wise, laughter-wise and pace-wise. Even in vulgar pantoland, less is more.

Elsewhere, the sets are bright and colourful, but under-wattaged lighting and over-amped backing tracks (and possibly some miming) take away from what could become, with pruning, panto perfection.

Production information

Epstein, Liverpool , December 7-January 6

Barney Lee
Michael Chapman, Lee Kelly
LHK Productions Ltd
Cast includes:
Stuart Campbell, Alison Crawford, Nikki Grahame, Simon Greening, Philip Olivier, Sonia
Running time:
2hrs 30mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014