A riot from first line to last bow, Danny Adams leads us through this high octane, fun fuelled festive mayhem of a pantomime leaving EVERYONE howling with laughter.
The pantomime at Newcastle Theatre Royal has long been a highlight of the theatre calendar – lavish sets, wonderful costumes and brilliant acting have always been a given, such is the quality that the theatre have always prided itself on.
But more recently there has been an extra dimension to this end of year show – the 4 musketeers of madness and merriment – Danny Adams, Clive Webb, Chris Hayward and Joe “he’s not going to sing again, is he?” McElderry. Granted, Danny & Clive have been Theatre Royal stalwarts since Dan Burn was a boy, but the past few years have seen them, and their counterparts blend and meld into a delicious recipe for complete fun.
This year’s panto – Pinocchio – is the best yet, and shows that their evolution as the best 4-some in entertainment since a group of scousers with dogy hair styles and smart suits decided to give Karaoke a try in the Cavern open mike slot, is still getting better and better.
We’ve said it before, but in Danny Adams we have the very best of Jerry Lewis, Lee Evans, Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe and, for the older readers, Duncan Norvelle. Zany, mad, chaotic, unpredictable, off-the-leash are all used to describe Danny, but the one word that sums them all up is “Genuis”. There is simply no one in theatre that can hold a candle to him and for that the Theatre Royal and Crossroads Pantomimes know to give him as much space to deliver. Playing the lead as the little wooden boy opens the door to even more madcap capers (if that was at all possible); his audience participation is brilliant (be prepared if you sit ANYWHERE in the stalls and guys, best tuck your shirts in if he chooses you to come up and help him on stage – you’ve been warned) while his ribbing of the other cast members and his attempts to get them to corpse is like watching exquisite torture.
Make no mistake though, this show can’t be the smash hit it is without the rest of the cast. Clive Webb, Danny’s partner in rhyme is not just the Ernie to his Eric, he carries just as much comedy threat on his own. Chris Hayward, back in a frock after being a baddy, is Newcastle’s very own “Ru Paul on a Steak Bake Bigg Market binge” Dame Rita Rigatoni (his Barbie routine is hilarious) and well, what can you say about lovely ‘little’ Joe McElderry that hasn’t already been said before? His apprenticeship is well and truly served in the panto academy and now he more than holds his own against the fearsome threesome – still the fall for many of Danny’s jokes, he showed last night that he’ll give as good as he gets given half a chance, and if he can’t – well, he’ll just sing, AGAIN!.
Of course, any panto needs a fairy and a villain – Amelia Walker is the delightful Blue Fairy who watches over our hero and helps guide him away from temptation (lest his nose should grow, which in itself is a thing of wonder) while The Great Stromboli is played with magnificent malevolence by Wayne Smith.
A full size flying toy aeroplane, the phenomenal Spark Fire Dance act complete with human Catherine wheel and an ensemble of brilliant dancers all add extra pizzazz to the show. I just wish (Upon a Star) that there had been more of the brilliantly deadpan Mick Potts.
The story of Pinocchio isn’t a traditional panto tale, but this gives space to more creativity which writer Carlo Collodi and Director, Producer and Wallsend legend Michael Harrison exploit for everyone’s benefit. The soundtrack is wonderfully evocative of the Disney classic animated film, When you Wish Upon a Star, Give a Little Whistle, I’ve Got No Strings all feature throughout, backed by the light motifs from Fog on the Tyne and even the Champions League anthem.
There isn’t a second of this show that doesn’t delight and as you leave you just want to go back and watch it over and over, even if it does mean Joe will, you guessed it, sing – AGAIN !!
Special mention to the Front of House team at the theatre who were fabulous (as always) - there were many in the audience whose only trip to the theatre is to see the pantomime and all the team were happy to help, guide, explain and done with such fun and friendliness that it made the whole evening even more special.
Don't forget to grab a show programme - it's packed full of info, fun games for the kids, insight into the magnificent cast and crew and makes for a brilliant keepsake for what will be an amazing visit - thanks to John Good Ltd
Pinocchio is playing at the Theatre Royal Newcastle until Sunday 14th January - see https://shorturl.at/acipK for tickets, times and prices.