Loughborough Town Hall consistently sets the benchmark for traditional panto in the East Midlands. This is the fifth successive panto from Morgan Brind, writer, director, designer and co-founder of Little Wolf Entertainment, and his shows keep on getting better and better.
While his work revels in all the best-loved things about the form, they’re contemporary too and pertinent to what’s happening in the locality. So the restoration this year of Loughborough’s famous Tower Carillion gives the town’s favourite Dame (James Peake) the chance to do a bit of slapstick dressed as a magnificent Taylor’s bell – one of a succession of lavish costumes that includes a Greek goddess complete with plinth.
Brind’s female characters aren’t seduced by the likes of show-off Gaston (Ryan Hall) and can hold their own with any man, as ably demonstrated by Rosanna Miles as the Enchantress, Rebecca Gilliland as Belle and Ella-Jane Thomas as La Fool.
Adam Pettit makes for a tender Beast and Kristian Cunningham an endearing Idle Jacques. There are lots of wicked Brexit jokes and outrageous puns. The comic timing is immaculate, the dancing exuberant, and the whizz-bang pyrotechnics are a treat. The show’s moral message is strong too: it’s who you are, not what you look like, that matters most.