Charles Essex reviews Puss in Boots at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth
Confession time: pantomime did not used to be this reviewer’s favourite metier. Watching a pantomime in which the actors and audience were clearly full of enthusiasm has brought a new perspective to this grumpy middle aged man (his wife’s description).
Once again, The Priory delivered fantastic entertainment with great performances and gorgeous costumes. Owen Prossor-Stock, as Billy, was the quintessence of a pantomime performer – full of energy, enthusiasm and total lack of embarrassment. He steered the story through from start to end.
The slapstick routine decorating the house between Billy and his ‘mother’ (Chris Arnold, seemingly eternal pantomime dame) was reminiscent of the Chuckle Brothers combined with Laurel and Hardy. The timing and coordination would not have been out of place in a professional company.
Innuendo, which seems to be inevitable in many pantomimes, but is increasingly questionable in the current era, was refreshingly absent, particularly as there were children in the audience and – hats off to Kenilworth Lions for sponsoring them on this opening night – vulnerable adults. The group singing pieces worked well but, apart from Ashley Clifford’s singing as Colin, solo singers were too often drowned out by the music.
However the choreography by local dance teacher Claudia Temple was a delight. The corps, ranging from primary school to teenagers, was well coordinated in both dancing and backing singing. Their performance on a very small stage, with no collisions or stumbles, is worth the ticket. They were a cement that bonded and supported the whole piece, so well done to the director for including them and trusting to Claudia’s vision for the routines.
Get a ticket soon as this whole run is almost sold out!
* Puss in Boots runs until December 30. Visit www.priorytheatre.co.uk to book.