Tuesday, February 27

Panto.Demic – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Pantomime is well and truly a British institution, and although the traditional festive offering might not be playing in theatres up and down the country this year as it normally would, the tradition of Panto has always had the capacity to adapt with the times, and even during a pandemic, the team at the fantastic Altrincham Garrick Theatre continue to entertain their audiences even during a national lockdown with a special pre-recorded ‘Panto-demic’ short for the whole family to sit down together and enjoy!

The Altrincham Garrick have a well-deserved reputation for delivering one of the best family-friendly pantomimes in the North West and I’d be the first to say I was thoroughly excited to be sat in those red theatre chairs with a packet of wine gums in hand ready to sit back and enjoy one of their dazzling productions but alas this can’t happen yet due to the pandemic we all face, but the Garrick are still bringing the fun, the silliness and the warmth of a panto to our families – just live streamed. Expect a Zoom joke or two and Panto fun galore!

The lockdown mini Pantomime’s script written by Tom Whalley features classic panto routines that we know and love like ‘it’s behind you’ and ‘dames searching for a husband’ gags while also including material about the world in which we face at the moment; the queues at the supermarket and the panic buying of toilet rolls all feature.

The cast of three are filmed over zoom and edited by James Merrington – with Bill Platt as Dame Funny Fanny Facemask, Luke Robinson as her son; Pee Pee and villain Captain Covid played by Wayne Holt, all three actors make the best of a zoom recorded show which includes outfits, props and digitally enhanced backdrops. This short 11-minute video still has the feel of Panto and features the cheeky humour and fun that comes with it thanks to the direction of Joseph Meighan and musical direction by Peter England.

It’s only a short mini lockdown offering of course, but it delivers all the family friendly fun of pantomime and will be sure to get you excited for the return of the Garrick’s big pantomimes and with the prospect of not one but two magical pantomimes in 2021 at the Garrick, it’s worth booking both right away to enjoy double the fun but also to support a brilliant local independent theatre and one which has delivered amazing shows and theatre experiences for the local community.

Verdict: Even a Pandemic can’t stop this theatre delivering Panto-cheer!

Reviewer: Max Eden

Reviewed: 20th November 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★