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Christmas Shows! Oh no i didnt...

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Christmas Shows! Oh no i didnt...#1
Posted: 1/15/08 at 9:30am
...oh yes i did!
Every year i like to pop around to a few different theatres to see some of the seasonal fayre thats on offer!
My first seasonal treat was actually in NY at the beginning of December with an early morning visit to the 'Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular'. This was the 7th time ive seen this annual show and every year it never fails to get me into the Christmas mood. Pure spectacle on a grand scale with stunning Rockettes and the world famous Nutcracker set piece together with a cast of about 50 taking you thru about 20 different scenes using the huge stage of Radio City to its full potential. The final Nativity scene is a near tear jerker with all the live animals. Well worth $120-same as a Broadway show- and the trek in subzero temperatures at 9.30am! Its barely 90mins long but well worth the Broadway ticket price. Up to 6 shows a day- all sold out!
Back in equally freezing blighty the first panto i caught was at the home of British pantomime, Wimbledon Theatres 'Snow White' with Ross Kemp from Eastenders. A well paced family show with just about as many references to Eastenders as i could stand.Bobby Davro most certainly keeping it all together. 'Snow White' is not your traditional panto but when its done this well it really works.
The wonderful Clive Rowe who has done his fair share of West End shows including Carousel, Company among others was having a ball as the most outrageous Dame you could wish for. He's Sarah The Cook in Dick Whittington at the gorgeous Hackney Empire. Susie McKennas pantos are now probably the closest the UK has to traditional panto since the 50s and 60s. Very traditional and great fun.
On a Christmas trip to Wales i saw two of the most boring shows ive seen in years. Swansea Grand had half the cast of Neighbours (the ones that left about 10 years ago!) in a very slow production. The kids were bored stupid.
The New Theatre in Cardiff has Qudos's production of 'Snow White' that has been around for about 7 or 8 years and is looking very tired but was kept moving by a very professional Lesley Joseph. Still in Cardiff over at its magnificent 2000 seater Millennieum Theatre is the stunning production of 'White Christmas' that was first seen in Southampton last year. This show belongs nowhere else other than the West End. It is a fantastic production with brilliant design, orchestrations from heaven and a starry cast. Hope to see this in London next year. Problem is that its rumored for the barn called the Apollo Hammersmith!
So down to Brighton. This year was 'Cinderella' with the two witches from TVS 'How Clean Is Your House?' The casting of these two as the Ugly sisters seemd inspired panto casting -WRONG! Never have two people looked so uncomfortable on stage. I have never been so embarrassed as i was watching the two of them not only talk over each others lines but also those of others on stage. The had no sense of timing, comic or otherwise. During the run they have actually been booed off stage by the audience on a few occasions. Truly dire! We wont see these two on a professional stage again. Thank God!
Richmond panto has always had a great reputaion and this years 'Cinderlla' doesnt disappoint. Nigel Havers was a great trouper looking like he was having a ball in his first ever panto.
I enjoy seeing pantos every year as i had such fun when i did a lot in the 70s and 80s whe i was a performer.
All these show were spread among my 5 visits to 'La Cage' at the Menier.
Anyone else do a panto or two?
PS. Most of these have now closed or will do this weekend Jan 19th/20th.

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 1/15/08 at 09:30 AM
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: Christmas Shows! Oh no i didnt...#2
Posted: 1/15/08 at 2:58pm
Did five family/Xmas shows:

Dick Whittington @ Hackney - excellent, amazing, totally looking forward to Mother Goose next year. Clive Rowe = Win.

Jack and the Beanstalk @ Barbican - Meh. Felt crude and amateur.

Cinderella @ Old Vic - My colleague loved it, came off to me as too much "play with panto influences" and not enough "proper panto". Still enjoyed it quite a bit, but it wasn't as much fun as the traditional shows.

Beauty and the Beast @ Lyric Hammersmith - Good if you're going in a school group, bad if you're a grownup who has to go along.

Tintin @ Playhouse Theatre - Lots of fun, very faithful to the tone of the comics and well done.

I wanted to get up to Birmingham to see John Barrowman in Aladdin, but a trip to the continent proved to be more of a financial drain than I had anticipated and funds were too tight upon my return to justify the trip.
No wine untasted
re: Christmas Shows! Oh no i didnt...#2
Posted: 1/18/08 at 6:36am
The few Christmas shows that I went to....

Dick Whittington @ Hackney. Couldn't agree more with what the previous two posters have said. Well written, strong story, great cast, groan inducing jokes and slapstick to keep the kids happy and just enough double meanings to keep the adults interested. Clive Rowe a fantastic OTT diva of a dame. Great panto.

Aladdin @ Tameside Hippodrome. Bog standard panto fare. Just as good as it needed to be without ever aspiring to be a single bit better. Lee Brennan (ex 911) in the title role needs a few acting lessons.

Scrooge @ Palace Theatre, Manchester. Brilliant family show. Great, memorable songs and Shane Richie as Scrooge was a very strong lead. A show that I'd definetely look out for if its around next Christmas.
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: Christmas Shows! Oh no i didnt...#3
Posted: 1/26/08 at 4:56pm
"oh no you din't"........just love that line.

All we did was go see White Christmas at the Lawrence Welk Resort, starring BWW's own Erika was quite fun, and she was brilliant
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956