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Puss in Boots

“Charming but awkwardly paced”

Bright, light and meandering, Toby Hulse’s Puss in Boots is a cheerful trad pantomime weighed down by a few too many ideas.

Shifting the familiar tale to the 1950s, Hulse sets up – but never expands on – a rich backstory involving protest movements, plots-within-plots, and a 600-year-old feline protagonist locked in an intergenerational vendetta with the descendants of the original King Rat.

Director John Terry makes the most of a small stage, packing in car chases and prison breaks with the aid of simple but effective projections. Surreal gags – endless streams of security guards, escape tunnels dug through mid-air – lift the show when the energy begins to dip.

Ian Crowe and Rowan Talbot in Puss in Boots at the Theatre, Chipping Norton. Photo: Josh Tomalin

Lucy-Jane Quinlan is a likeable, if underused, lead as landlord’s daughter Tiffany, the only clear thinker in a crowd of dreamers. Anna Tolputt gives a charismatic turn as the eponymous cat, keeping her cool and crooning along during the musical numbers, while Rowan Talbot is especially strong as the villainous King Rat, swaggering about with his hands curled into claws, habitually gnawing his lip.

Helen Coyston’s vibrant costumes tie all the wild ideas together, with bold blocks of colour and high-contrast tartans reflecting the zany tone.

Production Details
Production namePuss in Boots
VenueThe Theatre
LocationChipping Norton
StartsNovember 13, 2019
EndsJanuary 12, 2020
Running time2hrs 20mins
AuthorToby Hulse
ComposerRebecca Applin
DirectorJohn Terry
Musical directorAlex Maynard
ChoreographerLily Howkins‬ ‪
Fight directorKevin Mccurdy
Set designerPip Leckenby
Costume designerHelen Coyston
Lighting designerMark Dymock
Sound designerJonathan Everett
CastAnna Tolputt, Ian Crowe, Jessica Brady, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Nick Pack, Rowan Talbot, Scott Waugh, Tamara Saffir
Company stage managerSuzie Foster
ProducerChipping Norton, The Theatre
VerdictOverloaded with admittedly fun ideas, this is a charming but awkwardly paced panto
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Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

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