Frankenstein – The Panto
Who on earth thought the Modern Prometheus would make a good panto ? At least two versions have been playing this season; this one, by prolific panto peddler David Swan, is showing its age – it's a while since Blockbusters was declared too tedious even for daytime television.
A panto too far, perhaps, coinciding with sweeping cast changes at Little Waltham. Fortunately, many of the traditional elements survived the revolution: the scenic side-pieces – two Bavarian castles, one with spooky bats' eyes -, the walkabout with sweeties, Colin the drummer. There were even one or two local jokes. Those old standbys the striptease and the shadow operation were both revived, though neither was as effective as they might have been.
Margaret Surrey's production boasted a bright opener, with good character work from the Pumpernickels, Viv Abbey and Brian Corrie. Three other performers got close to the glory days: Zoe Pearson as Agnes, the knicker nicker, one of a lovely lively group of St Trinians gels, Mags Simmonds as the wonderfully named Granula [Dracula's Gran, geddit?], and John Richardson as the colourful Crackpot, whose delivery made even the lamest lines amusing. If that energy could be harnessed by his infernal machine …
Heather France was the principal boy, Prince Ludwig – presumably before he went crazy and built all those castles – and Gareth Blanks, love-child of Roy Hudd and Amy Winehouse, was the Dame who tried to keep the schoolgirls in line.