Panto – as traditional a Christmas custom as mince pies, mulled wine and pulling crackers. Like many of our favourite things this year, Covid has put-paid to lots of the pantos and theatre trips we’d normally be enjoying, so naturally I jumped at the chance to see Potted Panto – a madcap romp through all the classic pantomimes, performed in just 70 minutes.
As my first theatre trip in socially distanced times, I must give a quick shout-out to the team at the Garrick who did a terrific job of creating a Covid-safe space, whizzing us through temperature and bag checks and ensuring everyone remained vigilant with their masks. A different experience for sure but a smooth one which provided a small slice of normality in an otherwise very strange festive season.
Using a pretty basic but functional backdrop, and with props and costume-changes a-plenty, Dan and Jeff made my first trip to the theatre since Covid-19 struck an absolute delight. Filling the stage with energy and joy, their passion for the performance and general silliness provided a much needed tonic for the doom and gloom of 2020. The pair have pure children’s TV presenter energy and the squeals of laughter from the younger audience members were a constant throughout. There’s enough audience participation and puerile humour to keep the little ones happy, but this definitely isn’t your average kids show. Mixed in with the silliness and toilet humour are enough send ups of panto traditions, political satire and genuine laugh-out-loud moments to make even Ebenezer Scrooge crack a smile. There were points when I was genuinely howling with laughter and I could see that the adults in the audience were enjoying the performance just as much as the kids were.
With Christmas shaping up to be very different for the majority of us this year, the high-energy fun of Potted Panto provided some much needed relief and laughter. I’m so pleased that I got to see the show and it really has helped me slide into something approaching Christmas spirit. Whether you’re looking for a festive trip out with kids or you’re a proper grown up who just fancies a bit of light relief, look no further. Potted Panto delivers for audiences of all ages and provides a bit of much needed escapism just in time for Christmas.
Playing until the 10th January 2021 https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/potted-panto/
Reviewer: Zoë Meeres
Reviewed: 6th December 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★