‘ … all the elements we love to hate’
This brand-new King Tut-sic Panto, penned by John Savournin has all the elements expected of a Panto: Incredibly bad puns, cheesy popular culture references, melodramatic evil versus good, and of course the heart melting love match.
When an explorer wants to open King Tut’s tomb, he and his companions get transported back in time. This is an Egypt of the imagination fusing modern culture with the ancient. Without a dame in sight, the hip hopping King Tut is played by a woman (Alys Roberts). While this feels as though it has a modern agenda, this Panto is generally very traditional.
The dastardly Lord Conniving played by opera singer John Savournin has considerable presence, with his height and sonorous voice, he’s a gift to the genre. Inside the ingenious camel suit (designed by Mia Walldén) actor Philip Lee is sweating out a fine performance. The explorer, Howard Carter (Matt R J Ward) and his assistant, Evelyn (Francesca Fenech) added a touching love motif (pity about the farting – one for the kids, bah).
There were a number of highlights, the living puppets being one of the most memorable. If only the singing had been more operatic, after all this is a boutique panto, but the audience was clearly loving the more popular musical numbers with their re-written lyrics. A few extra desert animals would not have come amiss, and maybe stronger political bite. (A gender swap? Yawn – bah).
However, the audience of the night were loving it. With the stage end on, and the audience neatly divided into two, the other side seemed to be having so much fun, leaning forward in their seats and guffawing at the most ridiculous jokes. Whilst sitting at the back on the other side, with a couple of other reviewers scribbling away, bah humbug. It really did have all the elements we love to hate.
Read our interview with John Savournin here
Reviewer Heather Jeffery is founder and editor of London Pub Theatres magazine www.londonpubtheatre.com (email for press releases: email@example.com)
Formerly playwright and Artistic Director of Changing Spaces Theatre. Her credits include productions at Drayton Arms Theatre (Kensington), Old Red Lion Theatre (Islington), VAULT festival