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You've got to hand it to Ian Adams. He is the writer and director of this classic panto and even stars on stage as one of the lead characters.
The script is full of good, clean fun for all the family, and Ian gives a brilliant performance as busty Sarah the cook, in an amazing variety of crazy costumes.
There is nothing like a dame! His appreciation of comedy ensures that the show kicks off at a fast pace, attracts loads of audience participation and keeps the rest of the cast on their toes.
Comedian Barnaby is another major panto plus, playing Idle Jack with bags of energy, he is a natural and Steve Edwin is perfect as the man the audience love to hate, nasty King Rat who has many clashes with Fairy Bow Bells, played by Joanne Malin with all the charm she oozed in her job as Central TV's top newsreader.
What a performance too from the wonderfully named Dee Tails. He is Dick Whittington's loyal cat, Tommy, and he entertains with a super range of expressions and clever movements.
Malcolm Boyden (Alderman Fitzwarren), Marc Leslie (Dick) and LJ Neilson (Alice) add to the fun, while the colourful costumes and good sets ensure this will surely go down as one of the Garrick's finest pantomimes.
Colin Campbell is musical director of a proud production which runs to January 4th.
Monday 8 December 2008
Why change a winning formula? That's clearly the thinking behind this year's panto offering at the Garrick, which sees most of the team that made last year's show a success reunited to dispense another helping of comedy, glitz and glamour. And once again they do it in a style that seems to find favour with young and old alike.
Joanne Malin is a classy Fairy Bow Bells, who narrates part of the story suspended above the stage in a giant bell. But she's equally at home on the boards, singing and dancing with suitable verve. Family entertainer Barnaby is charged with providing most of the comedy in his role as Idle Jack, and he doesn't disappoint. His warm personality, easy style and apparent ad-libs soon get the audience on side and he doesn't let up. There's plenty of humorous support, too, from Malcolm Boyden as Alderman Fitzwarren and Ian Adams as Sarah the Cook, though most of their gags creak with age. Steve Edwin is a seriously evil King Rat, while Tommy the Cat gets to speak and even has a song, thanks to Dee Tails, under the feline fur. Lavish sets and stylish musical routines complete a dazzling production.