The Chronic-Ills Of Narnia
MILO YIANNOPOLOUS opportunistically reviews a play, and enjoys it.
Mumford Theatre, 16-20th November, 7.30pm, £6-10
The William Harvey Theatrical Society
If you can, you should go to see the Addenbrooke’s Panto this year for a few simple reasons: hot guys, hilarious stage antics and more god-awful medical puns than you can shake a stethoscope at. From the inexplicably keen blonde in the pink top, who threw herself into the first dance with all the enthusiasm – and co-ordination – of a well-oiled aunt at a Bar Mitzvah, to the suspiciously camp male lead, via the utterly, utterly fabulous Wicked Witch, I cannot fault the casting of this show. The singing was superb, the acting appropriately hammy and the dance routines hilariously over the top and fantastically enjoyable to watch.
Stand-out parts for me – and this will always only ever be a matter of personal opinion – were the two doctors from ‘GP Land’, who were a sort of cross between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Stephen Fry – though nothing like as annoying or offensive as the latter – Miss Management, a macabre and sensuous version of Sophie Ellis Bextor, the cheeky and adorable Pte. Finance (again, the level of quality puns in this play is beyond words) and the awesome tea ladies, who managed to convince even me that some good things do come from the North of England after all.
Panto’s all about getting into the spirit of things. It was difficult not to enjoy a huge cast of clever, funny people having a good laugh at each others’, and at their own, expense. But there was a definite pick-up, both in energy of performance and quality of writing, after the interval. I don’t think it was wholly down by nerves: slightly cringe-worthy reworkings of popular classics like Don’t Stop Believin’ in the first half gave way to much better-written rehashes in the second. But I have a feeling the whole thing will flow perfectly smoothly by tomorrow night.
I’ve got to applaud the directors, who have done a terrific job. Despite a spectacularly terrible orchestra and a few mic problems here and there – which, I’m sure, will be ironed out by tomorrow – the whole thing felt practically flawless. Lighting was especially good.
The writers, too, deserve credit, not only for their relentless mockery of obscure deaneries but also for rib-ticklers like, ‘These walls are thicker than a land economist from Girton.’ OK, so it’s not exactly Absolutely Fabulous, but it had the Mumford rolling in the aisles.
I have it on authority that this is a much better show than last year’s. I can believe it. Do whatever you can to get a ticket.
Disclaimer: In my career as a journalist I have been offered a lot of freebies by people keen to influence my reporting. Free laptops, lunches, accessories… you name it. But once in a while, a marketing department – or, in this case, the director of a play I’m reviewing – delivers me a gift so irresistible that it would be churlish and irresponsible to decline it. So I didn’t. But please don’t let the picture below suggest to you that my review is anything but strictly impartial. Just be grateful I managed to limp over to the library afterwards to type this up.