Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Oh yes it is!

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington - but a panto based on, of all things, Beowulf?

Well, yes. Over a pub in the canalside no man's land between Islington, De Beauvoir Town and Haggerston*, half a dozen singer-actors, a couple of pianists and a drummer delivered an evening complete with all the usual cross-dressing, corny gags, double entendres, sweet-chucking, custard pies and audience participation, interlarding a collection of songs stretching from Eminem to Singin' in the Rain, via Sondheim and Les Miserables (and the faintest dash of Wagner) - and not forgetting a chorus of muppets.

After all, if Jack and the Beanstalk can include a man-eating giant, why not a panto with the fearsome monster Grendel (especially once Beowulf has rendered him 'armless)? And one has to admit, as Grendel's mother, Angelina Jolie didn't offer the prospect of as many laughs (well, not intentional ones) as does a pantomime Dame (and this was a very good one - though how many Dames are lined up for a Wigmore Hall recital, I wonder?).

And, by the way, this particular outing was chosen by some American visitors I know through an online forum, who'd been persuaded that they ought to see a panto while they're in London. None of the Londoners in the group knew anything about it.

*Come to think of it, that's just about where this sort of thing's to be expected.

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