Panto’s all across the UK this year seemed to have three things in common. Three things that are the key trends of 2018 that directors mind turn to when writing the script. Three things that sum up 2018. From my experience these are…
The Greatest Showman
Flossing (the dance move, not the oral hygiene kind)
It seems Bristol was no different. Packed with plenty of references, gags and songs, this production was strong in places and patchy in others. A strange 20 minute section dedicated to ‘Bristol’s Got Talent’ stopped the show in its tracks and was bizarre way to shoehorn in some average jokes but it sadly massively distracted from the purpose and direction.
Brian Conley as Buttons and Gok Wan as The Fairy Gokmother were the stars of this production of Cinderella. They meshed often and mostly effortlessly but Gok’s inexperience on the stage showed against Brian Conley’s expertise performing. Conley’s patter and engagement with the audience carried the show, keeping it going when it was structurally unsound, however his singing voice isn’t much to be desired.
Accompanying them is Lauren Hall as Cinderella, and Scott Mobley as Prince Charming. Cinderella was as she should be, sweet and loveable and with a dress to dazzle the children. The Prince was somewhat lacking with charisma and well, charm.
The Ugly Sisters came in the form of the Bristolian babes chanting “Hello me babbers” and “Aren’t we gorgeous?!” which gave us a rare opportunity to do some boo-ing. Otherwise I thought the (award winning) sisters were unoriginal and didn’t spark much of an opinion in me, either positive or negative.
I did feel that we missed out on some of the proper traditional elements of theatre, such as slapstick and shouting “It’s behind you!” of which, sadly, there was neither. Similarly there were some unnecessary extras, such as overly cliche script (and that’s saying something for a pantomime) and plugging of other shows. I’m sure this was meant as a joke but again it interrupted the flow of the story.
Bristol always bring high production values and a stunt to wow the audience. This year was no different with a jaw dropping stunt to close the first half which saw the white horses and carriage soar over the auditorium.
It’s an A for effort, but in some areas that are crucial for me to be satisfied with a pantomime, it fell a little short.