Review – Potted Panto, Vaudeville Theatre

Monday 13 December 2010

Described as “seven classic pantos in eighty minutes” Potted Panto features six classic pantos and another traditional Christmas show in 95 minutes (including interval).

It’s performed by “CBBC’s Dan and Jeff”, CBBC being something akin to Watch With Mother . It seems Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner are the Patricia Driscoll and Vera McKechnie of their day.

Anyhow, it turns out that they are quite amusing judging by this frenetic romp through the seasonal canon: Dick Whittington, Snow White, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and A Christmas Carol*.

All this is played out with a minimal set and plentiful hats against black back-cloths to hide the set of An Ideal Husband with which it is Boxing & Coxing at the Vaudeville.

We were quite prepared to endure this but actually it was very funny and deliciously silly as it both follows and playfully sends up panto conventions AND there was a giant beachball thrown into the audience á La Cage Aux Folles AND they threw sweets into the audience (an event rarer than hens’ teeth in these days of health and safety gone mad) AND the audience got sloshed with water. Great fun.


* A shame that they only look at the pantos we already know. One must travel much further afield this year to see the more rarely performed works: to Bury St Edmunds, Stafford or Blackburn Empire to see Mother Goose, to the Bedworth Civic Hall to see The Pied Piper, to Canterbury to see Robin Hood and to Grays in Essex to see Babes in the Wood AND Robin Hood. In a radical departure with tradition, the New Players seem to be attempting a new panto about a 17 year old murdered by the Bolshevik secret police. Can’t think why it’s not been done before.


Rating score 4-5 full-bodied


4 Responses to “Review – Potted Panto, Vaudeville Theatre”

  1. Glen Says:

    Looking forward to catching this tomorrow to round off a run of 8 festive shows!

    As for Mother Goose at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds I can highly recommend it. Highly traditional but no museum piece – just 2.5 hours of glorious fun (and less than 2 hours out of London!)

  2. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    The Whingers should get out more. Both the pantos I’ve been to so far this year (I know, it’s a pitiful showing) engage in sweet-throwing, with Shaun Prendergast at Hammersmith deploying the time-honoured device of using a tennis racket to get to the gods. Clive Rowe at Hackney, of course, continues, he being the only confectionery-ballistic dame I saw last year.

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