I cannot resist but return to Cheltenham for their pantomime every year. Perhaps it’s returning to my old university town, or being reunited with familiar faces that make it special. Either way, it’s undeniable they put on a stellar pantomime year after year.
This year there is a fun twist of being transported halfway between the traditional Mother Goose’s setting and Piddly Plop Farm which is a great nod to Clarkson’s Farm - made famous by the Amazon TV series.
We’re met with all the usual fairytale characters as well as Clarkson and Caleb. Good fairy? Tick. Evil witch? Tick. Love interest? Tick. And then enters Tweedy…
This is Tweedy’s 12th pantomime in Cheltenham but his first year as the Dame and you can tell he is enjoying the change of pace. His circus skills are enchanting but nothing beats his skills required to pull off the brilliant improvisation surrounding the “we’ve forgotten our lines/it’s all gone wrong” pantomime scenario. He really is the lynchpin to the production and is who audience members will be talking about for days after the show.
My only slight disappointment is that we’re not treated to a “messy scene” or a chaotic rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas or If I Were Not Upon the Stage; the latter of which would fit brilliantly with the narrative of Mother Goose wanting to return to her days in the circus. Instead, we have a strange rendition D.I.S.C.O with the letters replaced with V-E-G-A-N.
Despite this Tweedy and the team have the audience both young and old captivated from the off. The Everyman always does a brilliant balancing act with adult jokes being sprinkled among the toilet humour and “Oh Yes It Is” silliness.
Directors Sam Holmes and Nick Winston, who between them have also written and choreographed the piece, have succeeded in another brilliant pantomime that delights audiences of all ages across Gloucestershire.