BWW Review: THE FAIRYTALE REVOLUTION: WENDY'S AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE, Theatre503
Billed as the only all-female panto in the world, The Fairytale Revolution: Wendy's Awfully Big Adventure is the latest pantomime offering from Battersea's Theatre503.
With a cast of only four, this is an energetic and charming production that attempts to subvert many pantomime stereotypes. Wendy from Peter Pan is stuck at home caring for the Lost Boys, while Peter Pan and her brothers have all the adventures. Captain Hook is a poetry-lover who wants to break free from his villainous past. The pair team up and go on to meet Thumbelina's mother Baker Swife (!), who has been sent to Banishment for trying to save her daughter.
The essence is how every good story starts with a rebellion; the characters go about trying to change their destinies, recruiting the residents of Enchantia as they attempt to defeat their arch-rival; the villainous Narrator.
Louise Beresford and Anna Spearpoint team up again after last year's Cinderella to write and perform in the show. Beresford plays a brilliant Hook; well-spoken and obsessed with poetry. Anna Spearpoint is a warm and witty Baker Swife. Helena Morais is aloof as Peter Pan and charming as the loyal Smee. Wendy is played by a friendly and confident Anais Lone, who also has the strongest singing voice.
All four actors have a lovely rapport and work very well together, especially in reacting to the audience and encouraging involvement. More cohesive direction is needed in this area; the audience is meant to warn Hook and Wendy when the pink lights come on to signal the presence of The Narrator. However it is confusing when pink lighting appears at other points. Often, when The Narrator is present, she speaks immediately, not giving the audience a chance to shout and warn the characters.
Hannah Benson's music features much original composition, but also some entertaining variations of tracks such as "Let's Do The Pirate Again", based on "Let's Do The Timewarp Again".
In a tight space, Daisy Blower's design is whimsical, bright and works incredibly well alongside Ali Hunter's cheerful lighting. The use of puppets is particularly effective, with a gorgeously detailed dragon flying in the sky, huge scaly Ogre arms poking across the stage and Tinkerbell as a glowing blue bulb on the end of a stick. Costumes are also fun and very detailed, especially Captain Hook's intricate frock coat and pantaloons.
This is a panto aimed at a younger audience; at two hours, a little more silliness and some judicious editing might be considered, as some audience members were beginning to fidget by the end. There is also a lack of cheeky asides and innuendo that are so vital to keep flagging parents' attention.
With tickets starting at just £12, this is an accessible and fun local panto, with some highly energetic performances from a talented and hard-working cast.
Photo Credit: Helen Murray