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BWW Review: OH YES WE ARE!, Perth Theatre

The Zoom-based alternative panto involves a quest for long lost light and laughter

BWW Review: OH YES WE ARE!, Perth Theatre

BWW Review: OH YES WE ARE!, Perth TheatrePerth Theatre sadly can't have audiences along to its annual pantomime this year, but they have come up with a fun alternative show via Zoom. Audiences can watch and join in with Oh Yes We Are!

Written, directed and starring Perth panto regular, Barrie Hunter, the audience are taken on a magical quest to find the long lost light and laughter. The "doomy gloom" has gripped the nation and our protagonists hope to banish it once they find the forgotten joy they're looking for.

Ava Hickey plays "Our Spirited Guide" who takes us from scene to scene throughout the 90-minute performance, encouraging us to join in raising our lamps and torches to light the way. Audiences are welcome to enjoy the show with their cameras on or off and a visual guide is available for supporting families who would normally attend relaxed performances.

Hunter gives a larger than life performance as Dame Heidi Hoall, delivering quips and jokes left right and centre. Ewan Somers is suitably endearing as Duggie, and Christina Gordon gives a determined performance as Hero.

Helen Logan revels in the role of the evil Corrupta. We meet her in the dungeon, bathed in green hues and dangling mirrors. The lighting design by Kate Bonney comes across well on the Zoom call and the final sequence, which I won't spoil, is gorgeously lit.

Music arranged and composed by Alan Penman features some fun numbers, particularly Hunter's medley of empowering anthems, coupled with Brooke Robertson's choreography. Scots will particularly appreciate one of the songs they're encouraged to join in with, in light of recent events.

The wider Perth Theatre building is utilised during the show. Becky Minto's design transforms the foyer into a forest full of pine trees, and we get to peek behind the stage as well. As someone who grew up in Perth, it is bittersweet to see the theatre in this way, but hopefully, we'll get to enjoy some shows in 2021 in person.

Tim Reid's video and Zoom design make good use of portable cameras held by the characters, as well as fixed cameras for extended sequences in the show. Unfortunately, the cameras become more obvious and a bit distracting towards the end of the show.

Excellent use of the mute/unmute function on Zoom allows audiences to join in with the standard boos, hisses and other responses you'd expect in a panto.

Some lovely and creative ideas are contained in the show. That said, the plot is quite inconsistent in tone and pacing in places. That said, the households on my particular Zoom call seemed to enjoy and join in with the interactive elements of this alternative pantomime.

Oh Yes We Are! by Perth Theatre available online until 24 December



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