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The Easter Funny Show (Manchester Opera House)

Kristy Stott enjoys the zany antics of John Thompson and Tam Ryan in this new family show but feels the production values sometimes let the piece down.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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John Thompson and Tam Ryan in The Easter Funny Show.
© Phil Tragen

You have probably guessed that The Easter Funny Show is modelled on the festive pantomime and employs the usual tried and tested slapstick humour, music and adventure into a show which seeks to entertain parents and children alike.

The show is written and performed by Manchester Opera House Favourite Tam Ryan and actor John Thompson, who is probably best known for his portrayal of Pete Gifford in the multi award winning drama, Cold Feet. However, the show differs from the usual pantomime as we follow this entertaining, witty and shambolic double act in their attempt to protect the golden egg of Easter; there are no soppy ballads or elaborate dance routines just all round silliness.

John and Tam have been specially chosen as guardians of the legendary golden egg of Easter. However, Easter baddy 'Bad Egg Billy' is hot on their heels and wants to nick the precious golden egg for his evil egg rustling activity.

Will our calamity-ridden double act save the day, and protect their egg from 'Bad Egg Billy'? Or will Bad Egg Billy ruin everyone's Easter fun by stealing all of the childrens chocolate eggs and cancelling the Easter school holidays? At this point Tam and John definitely have the younger members of the audience on their side.

The show also features Mike Toolan from the Key 103 breakfast show and juggler, Steve Royle, who is a real hit with the audience. Royle is genuinely funny and uses simple slapstick humour to engage the younger member of the audience - he is skilled at interacting with the timid volunteers who take to the stage.

John and Tam are guaranteed to put most in a good mood from the start - add in a bit of Gangnam style dancing for the kids and chuck out some free chocolate from the stage and everyone is pretty content. Did I mention that there is a special 'mystery guest' from Britain's Got Talent?

Perhaps the only section which seemed to drag and had some lighting issues was the show by UV puppeteer Russ Brown. It all seemed a bit dated and the UV wasn't as bright as some other shows that I have seen, the puppets were very small and put simply - the show probably didn't need it.

The Easter Funny Show is an interesting concept and there certainly is a space in the market for an affordable family fun show at this time in the year. Judging by the interaction from the children throughout and the applause and singing at the end, it was a hit with most of the audience.

Who says that the pantomime is just for Christmas?

The Easter Funny Show is at the Manchester Opera House until 12 April at 1pm and 5pm.

-Kristy Stott

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