Writer: Sarah A Nixon & Mark Chadderton
Director: Mark Chadderton
Reviewer: John Roberts
This year’s Rock’n’Roll pantomime from The Everyman theatre is a loose take on the Hans Christian Anderson tale The Snow Queen, and while it may not be as slick as last year’s Little Mermaid offering, it’s still a funny, engaging and energetic offering that ensures its place as a firm family favourite in the region.
As with previous offerings, the show is full of rock and pop music both past and present, delivered with aplomb by a tight ensemble of actor/musicians and this year’s company features faces familiar and new and the results are just as electric as previous years, in fact, one may argue that it’s the best cast in recent years.
Returning as the comic duo are Francis Tucker as Beau Peep Po and Adam Keast as Toni Cornetto – here they play penguins from the frozen lands now living in the hot lands to protect the young Laputa (played by Everyman newcomer Nikita Johal) from the evil ways of Viletta the Snow Queen (Lucy Thatcher). Peep Po and Cornetto are helped along the way thanks to some fairy magic from Snowdrop (Nicola Martinus-Smith), Cowslip (Danny Burns) and Speedwell (Barbera Hockaday). Of course, there are sidekicks in the form of Lloyd Gorman’s Hence and love-interest Malakai played by Jamie Noar.
Dinah England returns once again and transforms the Everyman’s intimate space into a colourful cornucopia for the cornea, this adaptable set provides a perfect playground for the cast’s tomfoolery. Under Greg Last’s musical directorship, the songs sound full and lively although at times vocals are lost to an over amplification of certain instruments which is a shame as this cast has some stunning voices which cry out to be heard as much as possible.
As always, Keast and Tucker are firm favourites as they bounce around the stage with gleeful gusto, newcomer Johal more than holds her own as the story’s heroine and even stays calm and collected when (at this performance) a snowstorm threatens to choke her on stage. Gorman makes a perfect foil to Thatcher’s glamorous villain, while Martinus-Smith hits all the right notes as fairy-in-charge Snowdrop. Returning to the Everyman stage in the love-interest role is Noar who once again oozes charm and charisma from the of, but it’s the multi-rolling from Danny Burns and Barbara Hockaday which impresses the most, hardly ever off stage and in a variety of roles this is pantomime perfection.
As mentioned The Snow Queen is a great offering, but perhaps loses its way narratively a few times, one could argue that by giving writers Nixon and Chadderton free reign they create something unique, but if they are starting to visit more grounded literary classics for their shows, then one would say that it may be better especially for younger audience members if the story is a little more familiar to that written in the original.
Minor quibbles aside, The Snow Queen and the Everyman’s Rock’n’Roll pantomime offerings ensure its still one of the most unique festive treats in the city this year.
Runs until 19 January 2019 | Image: Robert Day