This is a panto to see twice – Oh yes it is! We’ve already been twice last week to see it and already I’m jealous when I see people checking in on Facebook to say they are there.
We were invited last week to attend press night at our local theatre in St Helens. Its been a couple of years since we went to the St Helens panto. We were massive fans of the late Richard de Vere and decided to experiment with Liverpool pantos instead. Turns out, we were missing out on a treat at St Helens.
The first thing we noticed was how much audience participation there was – We were sat next to a journalist on his own and he was laughing and joining in like the best of them. Great to see!
We’ve known Simon (St Helens’ Resident Dame) for years (several misspent nights in the pub together) and he’s just ace! A complete natural performer and so at home in a sparkly dress. Ben Engelen is magic as Buttons – He was the best performer that we remembered from the panto at The Empire in Liverpool last year. He’s just a gem and so funny.
There’s even a good celeb, Marc Baylis of Coronation Street fame – There’s plenty of Corrie references but what is brilliant to see is how much he seems to enjoy his role as Dandini. He’s a baddie but not a scary baddie so suitable for all ages. In fact the whole crew look like they are having a ball – They really seem to get on and be enjoying themselves.
The highlight for us has got to be the 12 days of Christmas routine – The most interactive and funny interpretation out of all the pantos we’ve been too. If you get out of this sketch dry from the water guns, you must have been on a toilet break. A week later and my girls are still singing about 5 toilet rolls.
Crissy Rock and Charlie Griffiths are superb Ugly sisters – Truly Bags for Life! There’s a couple of near the knuckle comments but not so much that it was uncomfortable – I took my Mum the second time and she laughed so that’s ok!
There’s dancing and singing as usual – The little fox dancer is magnificent and once again, Violet was mesmerised at the thought she might be able to be in a panto one day. Real life Shetland ponies bring the ‘Aaaw’ factor and Cinderella’s carriage is truly beautiful. The costume and props departments have done an outstanding job on this show.
Let’s Marvin Gaye & Get it on will have you in stitches and Beggin is hilariously cringeworthy. For the finale we all sung Let’s Have A Party – We certainly did. I’ve never seen dancing in the aisles like it in St Helens!
As I say, we already feel sad that we’ve done our pantos for this year …We’ll have to do it again then, won’t we?! Whoo!