Laughs, frights and too much water at Marlowe panto
It's that time of year when hundreds of people gather in
one place to watch a man dressed as a woman dressed as a jockey
riding an ostrich.
Or at least that was my expert assessment as I sat down at the
Marlowe on Tuesday to watch this year’s panto Sleeping Beauty.
Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates, as the charming Prince Michael,
and ex-punk princess Toyah Willcox, playing the evil Carabosse,
were given star billing.
But it was panto dame Ben Roddy who stole the show - and most of
the laughs - in a brilliant take of Nurse Nellie.
His (or her?) somewhat uncomfortable affection for the dashing
Prince provided a few belly laughs and he even managed to throw in
three (yes, three!) Bonnie Tyler jokes.
He and jovial jester Jangles (Lloyd Hollett) raised the roof
with a slapstick bathroom scene, but it was a sketch with 58
consecutive gags about old records that had me chuckling (He did a
As always, there were some topical local jokes thrown in for
good measure, with the Westgate Towers traffic trial and Herne
Bay’s miserable Christmas lights getting honourable mentions.
And a gag about sending the cast to a “dark foreboding place
where time has stood still for 100 years” was set up for an Isle of
The set and costumes were impressive, but it was a stunning
fire-breathing dragon which had everyone on the edge of their seats
(it has to be seen to be believed!)
Surprisingly, it’s an hour before Gareth cracks the inevitable
joke about his stuttering, but the Bradford boy proved he can still
make girls swoon with a rendition of Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give
Equally, the stunning Faye Brookes put a few smiles on the faces
of dads with a faultless performance....in what was a
It had laughs, frights, lots of water and plenty of audience
interaction - oh, and did I mention the stunning Faye Brookes?
At the end of the day, I'm one of those miserable dads who
probably wouldn’t step foot in a panto if I didn’t have kids.
But as we left the theatre my five-year-old daughter turned to
me and said: “That was really fun!” – and I suppose that’s what
really matters, isn’t it?
The panto runs until January 20. To book tickets call 01227
787787 or visit www.marlowetheatre.com.
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