Writing a review for Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s annual British-style pantomime was always going to be a tricky one.
On the one hand, I have to say in the interest of full disclosure that I am part of the CTC having thoroughly enjoyed performing in last year’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’, so I know some of those involved in ‘Treasure Island’ well.
On the other side, I’ve never liked panto. At all. So I went to Krudttønden with an overflowing flagon of mixed emotions and more than a little trepidation. Fortunately I need not have worried. I really enjoyed it. This is a ton of fun.
No panto audience member is an island
For those of you unaware of this hallowed British tradition, panto is a bawdy, rollocking piece of gloriously over-the-top theatre. And this (very loose) retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel by Ben Crocker is no exception.
Panto endures because it really has something for everyone. Music, songs, dance, slapstick, cross-dressing, audience interaction and raucous, tongue-in-cheek comedy. It’s big and loud and energetic enough for kids but with knowing double entendres to keep the grown-ups giggling.
And laugh I did. Clearly I have overcome my lifelong aversion to panto and settled in for two hours of quality family entertainment.
Expect the eclectic
The cast are clearly game for anything and attack the show with all they’ve got. David Barrett, who made his CTC directorial debut with last season’s panto, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, returns confidently at the helm for this one, ensuring not a moment goes by without some risqué gag being launched across the theatre.
As expected, pop culture references are seamlessly interwoven into the classic pirate story, from ‘The Great British Bake Off’ to Lady Gaga, and the music is equally eclectic.
Who knew Shania Twain, ‘Frozen’ and ‘Moulin Rouge!’ would work so well together? I didn’t, but then again I’m just some pasty-faced land lubber who has only just got his sea legs.
Heart and soul
The opening night and several others are already sold out, which comes at no surprise. CTC has gone from strength to strength recently, celebrating its milestone anniversary with one solid quality production after another.
The set and costumes are great, the choreography inspired and the performances are as big, bold and laugh-out-loud funny as you want from panto. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges, but that’s half the fun. There are no mistakes here, and this cast are talented enough to improvise them into comedy gifts.
Everyone involved has poured so much love, energy and hard work into this that it would take some sort of stone-cold misery to not be won over. I certainly was, and now I have to rethink my life.
So get online and grab a ticket while you can. This gloriously over-the-top ship sets sail very soon, and if you’re fool enough to miss it, I’ll make you walk the plank.