Skip to main content

Review of The (Almost) Complete History Of Britain by The Pantaloons at The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough

It became very apparent quite quickly during History Of Britain that to get full value from the experience, it would be worth regressing to childhood. Targeted at all, but with quite a lean towards the younger members of the audience, I switched off thirty years of life and found it much easier to chortle at The Pantaloons.

Dressed in paint speckled dungarees, the four performers are present in the theatre long before the show is ready to begin. Running through the foyer and mingling with the audience in the stalls selling their programmes, this is already a pretty entertainingly silly night before it begins. Our four performers Edward Ferrow, Kelly Griffiths, Neil Jennings and Alex Rivers have infectiously exuberant personalities and no matter how bad the jokes they throw at us get, you often can't help but have a little chuckle.

The writers responsible are Mark Hayward and Stephen Purcell, who also direct. They drag us through the history of Britain missing out vast amounts of it in the process, but with a soul purpose to entertain in a clownish way. It starts off rather clunky with hard work pieces featuring ancient Britain and a quiz take on War of the Roses that doesn't quite work. However things quickly pick up with the life of Henry VIII dealt with in an extremely funny way.

The Gilbert & Sullivan musical treatment of the Spanish Armada is without doubt the highlight of the show. Magically rewriting some their most well known tunes to tell the tale, with the best their version of The Mikado's I've Got A Little List. This also leads into perhaps the best lead in to the interval I have seen for sometime. Magic!

The second half opened with some audience interaction (hunches down in seat) and the splitting of the audience for the Civil War. I knew my history enough that once I was on the side of the Cavaliers, my days were numbered. The two audience members on stage were great value with their trading insults routine, but I have no idea what is wrong with picking fluff from your belly button.

Highlighting the fact that the best bits of the show were the musical parts the Victorian age done cabaret style was a little gem with a singing Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale among others, and very funny songs to boot. The Great War was presented with surprising style and refinement for what had been a very much clowning show and it was bold, but quite wonderful to include the work of Wilfred Owen, which was performed wonderfully by Neil Jennings.

The final main piece before the whistle stop tour of the twentieth century was Uptown Abbey, a pastiche of something else completely different to avoid copyright infringement. It moves us between the two wars and provided two of the best comedy moments of the night with a "You rang m'lord" joke and one featuring more than one hat. Great stuff!

So an entertaining night featuring quite a few magic moments of entertainment. Not high art at any point and more Cbeebies that BBC4 but we all need some real stoopid in our life now and again, and the Pantaloons provided that.

«««


Performance reviewed: Thursday 31st March, 2016 at the Castle Theatre, Wellingborough.

The (Almost) Complete History Of Britain by The Pantaloons was performed at the Castle Theatre , Wellingborough on Thursday 31st March, 2016 only but it currently touring. Details can be found at http://www.thepantaloons.co.uk/

For details about The Castle see their website at http://thecastle.org.uk/


Popular posts from this blog

Review of Touching The Void at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

For those unfamiliar with this story, this review tells more than you might want to know ahead of seeing it. So, the short review for those who don't know the story of Joe Simpson, go and see this play and then come and read this review if you wish.

Staging the 1985 tale of Joe Simpson and his somewhat unbelievable, if it wasn't true, escape from surviving three days without food and water, a 150 foot fall previous, and following breaking his leg a previous, previous, seems an insurmountable challenge, but with the clever work of writer David Greig, director Tom Morris, and designer Ti Green and the rest of the creative team, we manage during a long and pulsating evening of theatre to reach that peak.

Following a short sequence of flashes of what is to come, we join Simon (Edward Hayter), Richard (Patrick McNamee) and Sarah (Fiona Hampton) at the wake of Joe Simpson, imagined for the stage and a neat way of introducing us to the story. Here Sarah, Joe's sister becomes the …

Review of the University Of Northampton BA (Hons) Acting Graduate Showcase at Leicester Square Theatre, London

The Graduate Showcase was pretty exciting even for me, so heaven knows how it was for the actors actually taking part. Here I was in a gathering of around twenty people (all others infinitely more important than me) at a special closed event at a West End theatre, complete with free drinks and buffet. Fortunately I had Mr Jim aka @mudbeast76 to keep me on the straight and narrow of juices after the one alcoholic one went straight to the head drink. Then as if it wasn't a surreal world as it was, there only goes and walks in Lukewarm himself, Christopher Biggins!

However, this isn't about me, this is about the thirty six ultra talented individuals who after I have followed them for a bit over a year are about to venture forth into the big competitive world of the acting community. They have though the double advantage of not only coming through the excellent three years University Of Northampton training and also being rather talented to help them in this.

This being my first s…

Review of Benidorm Live at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

I arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre to see this touring stage version of ITV comedy hit Benidorm with a distinct lack of knowledge. Having never seen the show, my information stretched as far as knowing it was set in a holiday resort in Spain (the title helps there), and that the humour generally resorted to the cruder end of the spectrum. However, having graced the screens for ten years, it was clear that Derren Litten's show had garnered quite a following, and indeed it was clear from the reception of the audience on the night, that this following was pretty much filling the theatre.

The plot, such as it is for this stage show, is very much drafted from an episode of Fawlty Towers, and made a great deal more adult with its humour. The hotel manager, Joyce Temple-Savage (a sharp performance by Sherrie Hewson) gets wind that a hotel inspector is in, and the scene is set for seeking them out and all the obvious cases of mistaken identity. It's thin and doesn't fill the show,…