If you thought panto was just for kids should check out Theatre503’s production, The Fairytale Revolution.
Louise Beresford and Anna Spearpoint’s show challenges the panto format: Peter Pan’s Wendy (Anais Lone) is fed up with being ignored and wants to become a pirate, while Hook (played with gusto by Beresford) has grown tired of his villainous persona and wants to write poetry. Together, they decide to change the narrative.
Beresford steals the show with her swaggering and melodramatic Hook, breaking into haikus at every opportunity and perfectly executing a number of bawdy jokes (“Between wood and seamen, you learn a thing or two about shafts.”)
Spearpoint also excels as Baker Swife, an endearing but rather dotty character, with cutesy pig tails and an enormous pair of pink bloomers.
Credit has to be given to Helena Morais, who switches between a South London Peter Pan, Hansel and Gretel (through the ingenious use of two wigs either end of a stick), a West Country Smee, and a Southern belle Bo Peep. The accents sometimes go awry, but this does not detract from an impressive feat.
When the cast dresses as “three wise pies”, it is a particular highlight, as are the papier-maché models, which have been designed to suit the theatre’s small stage – long ogre arms and a dragon’s tail poke out from the wings.
While the panto doesn’t feel too long, the second act packs in an extraordinary amount, which leaves the finale struggling to live up to the rest of this entertaining and punchy production.