Puss in Boots: The Alternative Panto at the Drayton Arms Theatre
If I could, I would rate Puss in Boots as high as the sky – six stars, at least. It was that good. It was stellar. Puss in Boots is the best panto of the season. With witty dialogue and superb acting, Puss in Boots sets the bar high for what a panto ought to be.
The Puss in Boots book and lyrics were written by the talented Robyn Grant, who belted out tune after tune and who also acted as Narrator during the show.
Like other actors, Robyn played several roles in the panto. As stated in the printed programme under the list of main characters, ‘All other parts played with great reluctance by the cast.’ This sets the tone for the evening.
And this is the funny thing: In the audience, we enjoyed many vastly different characters, some men, some women, some animals, but in actuality, the entire show was staged with just a cast of five. Five women who worked seamlessly together and who obviously had fun creating a memorable show for we laughing audience members.
The panto is loosely based on the sixteenth-century Italian fairy tale about a cat with human characteristics. The scheming cat, who in the panto is played by Rosie Raven (a woman of many accents), seemingly assists his master, Colin, played by the hilarious Allie Munro, in pursuit of the affections of the Princess Fififi, played by Phoebe Batteson-Brown. The cast of five women is completed by Katie Wells, who plays King George (who remarkably references President-elect Trump much to the disgust and approval of the audience).
We have been conditioned in panto culture to expect men in drag. But this cast of five women turn the standard panto formula on its head with gender-bending confusion. There are so many characters of both sexes in this play, it’s impressive how these actresses flip from one gender to another. It wasn’t until the second act that this reviewer realized that the elegant and feminine Princess Fififi was one in the same person as that who played the scruffy low-class male character, Paul.
Staged upstairs in the Drayton Arms pub in swank South Kensington, it was the perfect environment for this panto. So grab yourself a pint downstairs at the bar and carry it on upstairs to sip and enjoy an evening of clever fun. Puss in Boots is a special treat.
Review by Jennifer Daley
From the filthy minds behind BUZZ: A New Musical (winner Stella Wilkie Award, Eddies Award, Edinburgh Fringe Sell Out Show), Fat Rascal Theatre presents its first adult pantomime, coming to the Drayton Arms Theatre this Christmas.
When young Colin is left with nothing but a cat in his father’s will he’s ready to give up. He is a millennial after all. It’s left to Puss to sort his master’s life out, rid the land of evil and gain Colin enough standing to marry the beautiful (but vacant) princess Fififi, because as 2016 has proved, anyone can rule a kingdom if you tell enough lies.
Join our naughty pussy on a magical adventure featuring original music, side-splitting laughs and special effects that will make you think we actually have some kind of budget. Leave grandma at home with the cheeseboard and let Fat Rascal Theatre purr-suade you to try something a little different this year.
Puss in Boots
Saturday 17 December 2016 – Saturday 07 January 2017