You can almost hear the strains of All I Want for Christmas pervading the very stalls of the Hammersmith. Panto has landed and what better venue than the Lyric to get the party started?
In this outing our Cinderella (Tilly La Belle Yengho) who is introduced to us by Pulp's Common People, is a cheekily lovable Cinders, there is no ‘woe is me' in this fairytale, she is a go-getting gal with a side hustle in Shepherds Bush Market (she's in the clothing trade, don't you know), making garments for all the passing folk and rodents with her faithful bestie Gerbil (cos he's a …) at her side. Until that day, our dashing Prince makes a beeline to her stall in order to hide from the paparazzi.
Now, we all know what happens next. Enter stage left Lady Jelly-Bottom (Emmanuel Akwafo) to the tune of Bootylicious. You could balance an egg on that derrière (no spoilers here folks) and the ugly sisters Muffy & Gusset make their entrance albeit in a lukewarm rather than scorching hot manner. Vicki Stone's writing is sublime, pockets of full-on belly laughs and drawing on superb lyrics for MARKET. The music composed by Corin Buckeridge and played by a four-piece takes centre stage: the choreography is tight and with a small cast and ensemble everyone is exposed.
I must send a firm nod to Good Teeth, the folk behind the costumes, they were top-notch and in firm keeping with the theme of the night. Jodie Jacobs in the Fairy Godmother's outfit was a delight to behold. There were some outstanding flashes of brilliance (audience participation but unfortunately they were flashes, it never really seemed to turn the spark into a flame. With a little fine-tuning and as the panto settles into full swing, it has the potential to set the scene for Panto in December 2023.
It runs until 6 January 2024.
Review: Kay Johal Photo: Manuel Harlan