I have been going to the York Theatre Royal pantomime with the same group of friends since 2009, which makes us mere babbies and bairns compared to most of the audience and pretty well all of the cast.
The Theatre Royal panto is one of the few in a provincial theatre that gets reviewed by the national press and is usually described as a must see.
Berwick Kaler, writer, co-director and nonpareil Dame, tends to describe it as “our annual rubbish” but for me York’s panto is the best tonic to combat the mid-January blues.
This year was loosely based on Cinderella although generally it’s the same panto, with the same cast just different character names, different costumes and some topical issues introduced. It is always funny.
This was my first visit to Theatre Royal since its refurbishment and the new, banked stalls seats are great. We had a much better view of the stage without having to look around people and, unless you are a small child, it doesn’t matter if someone tall sits in front of you because you can now see over their head. The team who designed and delivered the refurb should be congratulated.
I’m not going to single out any of the cast members. I think they all did a cracking job and at one point I got the giggles at the sheer number of cast members who also had the giggles. The costumes were colourful and those for Baroness Von Naff, Priscilla and Hernia in”Got to Get a Gimmick” were inspired.
I liked having 2 films in the show this year too. It keeps us, as an experienced audience, on our toes when the film arrives in a different place and doesn’t feature the person you expect to see. Congratulations to Suzi Quatro for agreeing to send herself up and, as always, to Harry Gration, who must sometimes think “why do I let myself get talked into doing this?” The second film also allowed Martin Barras, the Dame’s regular sidekick, to appear in the panto even though he couldn’t be on stage. Martin, I hope your recovery continues apace and we hope you’ll be back next year.
In summary, I think everyone should treat themselves to a panto trip in mid-January and if you’re lucky enough to live close enough to visit the one in York booking your tickets should be a no-brainer! I’ll be there, in April, queuing for my 2018 tickets!