After last year's Robin Hood - Queen of Thieves
Andy, Evil Alex, Vanessa and I returned to Above The Stag for this year's adult pantomime, and this time brought Richard and Penny with us (Evil Alex's other half was also meant to come along but he couldn't make it at the last minute.) Writers Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper return for Sleeping Beauty - One Little Prick
but the only returning cast member is last year's villain, Matthew Baldwin, here upgraded to play the dame, Lady Gargoyle. So there's no super-hot Robin Hood but as far as frequently-topless young men go we get Matthew Ferdenzi (massive nipples) as Beauty and Greg Airey as his vampire beau Prince Edward (the latter sat on my lap at one point, so he wins.)
This year the main references include Downton Abbey
(the first act takes place in 1911,) the building of the 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford (when the action resumes after the interval and 100 years' sleep) and more obliquely Twilight
. Again the whole thing's a celebration of bad taste humour kept within the framework of a traditional panto with running gags, musical interludes and audience participation. One thing of note tonight was the cast's ability to improvise when faced with a particularly irritating, persistent heckler, who drunkely called out unfunny, random comments throughout. Baldwin, Ferdenzi and Mandy Dassa as Fairy Glowstick were pretty sharp in coming straight back with put-downs; unfortunately his response tended to be just to repeat his previous comment and after a while the cast were looking as fed up with him as we felt (audience participation's one thing but we do all have homes to go to, it'd be nice if they could just get on with doing what's in the script at some point.) Fortunately he didn't return for the second act. Lots of smutty fun overall though - a kiss ends up being nowhere near enough to wake Beauty up, for example.Sleeping Beauty - One Little Prick
by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper is booking until the 8th of January at Above The Stag Theatre.