Through the Wormhole - Review

I well remember the feeling of exhilaration that I had on leaving the NVT after seeing The Last Resort a couple of years ago. If I am to be honest then I must say that, as much as I enjoyed its sequel, I did not come away with the same elation.

Why should that be? There were so many good things about the production that I find it difficult to pinpoint the exact reason.

I suspect that one reason would be because a major factor in my memory of the first panto was the shock of its originality. This time around that element, by its very nature, had to be missing.

In addition it was felt that the first act was a bit slow in taking off and needed a bit of a lift. Maybe it could have done with some more gags.

Possibly the fault lay with me – my expectations may have been too high.

But enough of the negative! There were many witty, inventive and enjoyable things to be positive about.

Eleanor Gamper, wearing her writer's hat, produced an intriguing sequel that involved Brighton under a new ice age, a giant worm, traveling through time and space together with the reappearance of some favourites from the previous show.

Reprising their roles as the Prince Regent and Mrs. Fitzherbert, Denny Vans Agnew and Laura Bennett, again delighted with assured performances that demonstrated a superb sense of comic timing.

Carl Boardman once again took to drag as Old Mother Brighton – this time reincarnated as Holly, one of the eccentric Miss Tree sisters. He was joined by Andy Thomas as Ivy. Their performances brought to mind Hinge and Bracket – although with the maniacal portrayal of Ivy it was more a case of Un-Hinged!

They were pitted against the evil wiles of the dastardly Christiana and of her plot to rule the Universe. Once again the recipient of the audience's hisses and boos was Pat Boxall, who obviously relished her return to this role.

The sisters were aided, by amongst others, an assortment of odd characters who had traveled through time. In addition to Prinny and Mrs. F other local personalities such as a bewildered King Alfred, nicely underplayed by Peter Milner and an exceptionally well-endowed cave woman rejoicing in the name of Jawbone, a wickedly funny and camp caricature by Jonny Hume. There were many other pleasing performances from the rest of the cast, sadly too numerous to mention.

Director, Nik Hedges coped well with the enforced change to and the limited space of the studio, particularly in the ensemble numbers.

More creative credit has to go to Eleanor Gamper, wearing another of her hats. She was responsible for the show having original lyrics and music and created a good mix of lively numbers and ballads.

For me, and I suspect for many, the high spot of the evening was Einstein Alive, a clever parody of the Bee Gees' number, with the eminent scientist transported though time to a Seventies Disco. An image that will stay with me for a long while was that of Jerry Lyne, looking remarkably like the great man, strutting his stuff on the dance floor.

It would be very wrong not to give praise to the rest of the creative team for the effective set and especially to Peter Milner and helpers for the delightful and inventive costumes.

Barrie Jerram