23 December 2010 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews In the good old days of early pantomime large stages, such as the Palladium, were filled with various big names, exuberant costumes, and something for every member of the family unit; this year Birmingham Hippodromes festive offering evokes all the hallmarks of these by-gone traditions for the contemporary audience.
A number of names top the bill in this production, but sitting pretty right at the top and in the boldest of font is former Dynasty star and Hollywood queen of glamour,
Joan Collins. Collinsís extravagant entrance (within a giant glitter ball!) sets the tone for her diva-esque performance. Her presence within the production is undeniably exciting, if not entirely inspiringly delivered. It must be said that for a woman in her mid-seventies she certainly gives her most but is sometimes outshone by her supporting cast.
Playing Joan Collinsís, or Alexis as she is named in the production as a nod to her Dynasty days, villainous counterpart is stage and screen veteran
Nigel Havers. Following his performance in the jungle Havers is surprisingly jovial and makes an effort to be a dastardly villain whilst not taking himself too seriously.
The main ingredient for a successful panto is comedy, and with
Julian Clary taking on the role of Spirit of the Bells there is certainly no lack of laughter. Whilst a little blue for younger members of the audience, Clary entertains the parents and grandparents with his quick one-liners and a bucket full of innuendos. Keith Harris and Orville the duck, after many years on the comedy circuit, still know how to amuse their audience and encourage high volumes of laughter and appreciation from the kids. Combined with fast paced, energetic choreography and the most eye popping of costumes this production, especially during its second act, does its uttermost to be what panto should be- a starry affair with plenty of laughs and spectacle.
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