The intimacy of the Georgian Theatre Royal is perfect for panto. Gary Bridgens, returning for his eight season as dame Glinda, is the glue that holds it all together. He ad-libs his way through the show and engages easily with everyone in the audience.
Freya Mawhinney, making her professional debut, is suitably sweet and innocent as Dorothy, with a voice to die for. She’s one to watch out for. There are strong performances among the rest of the cast in Clare Allen’s production too. Edward Cole’s pensive Scarecrow makes the perfect straight man and has a strong sense of comic timing. Ross Dean’s Tin Man is equally sure-footed in his pursuit of a sight gag, and Nick O’Connor gives a superb turn as Elvis the Lion, king of both the jungle and, for the purposes of this show, rock ’n’ roll. Sarah Kearsley excels as the wickedest of witches, her performance an integral part of the fun.
Multi-instrumentalist Kerrin Tatman is also excellent and Kelly Jane Goodwin’s innovative choreography add to the show’s appeal. The cast include a number of local children, and everyone is in danger of being upstaged by the bravura of Jackson, a cute black Cockapoo, playing Toto.
Enjoyable traditional panto featuring a charming debut performance