- December 13, 2018
Qdos are the UK panto pro’s and for three years now they have taken over the hallowed London Palladium with fabulously glamorous productions and casting. And this year is no exception, this is full on fun with fabulous costumes and lavish sets, great effects and plenty of gags.
I sometimes wish that I was more of a prude, because if I were I would be able to criticise the saucy content of this show which is cleary packed with smut – the ideal vehicle in fact for Mr Julian Clary. And my word Julian certainly knows how to “pull it off”, yes it’s “end to end” innuendo. Julian never makes an appearance without sporting a new and fabulous costume, each getting increasingly bigger, sillier and more extravagant – it’s a joy.
Dawn French is brilliantly cast as Queen Dragonella and like Clary she uses the device of slipping in and out of character to brilliant comic effect. The two together on stage are golden.
So too is ventriloquist Paul Zeldin with Sam, beautifully wrlitten and delivered set pieces, Zeldin oozes charm. So too does Charlie Stemp who makes the most of the scant plot in what is really a variety show clinging to the bones of the fairy tale. As a consequence Danielle Hope has little to do, with a couple of numbers and hardly any lines. I felt the same about her seven woodland friends who seem to be almost an afterthought, I would have liked much more of them.
Gary Wilmot is wonderful and makes a classic dame with the best comedy number, a G&S patter song about the Palladium’s hall of fame, and the most moving song of the evening, Wilmot is a class act.
I love panto and for me this captures the true spirit of the form, maybe a little short on story but certainly packed with fun and games.
(In the true spirit of the production here is my bit about Nigel Havers. Havers is the running gag, the butt (there’s the innuendo again) of many of the jokes, dashing on an off, begging for his moment and continuously being put down. He does it with great humour and charm.)