Reviewed by Charly Ralph
December 10th 2017
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★
Sleigh bells, Christmas trees, mince pies and pantomime! A trip to the theatre during the festive season continues to be an integral part of many people’s Christmas celebrations, with productions cross the country now in full swing. Theatre Royal Stratford East’s offering this year is the not so classic story of Sinbad the Sailor, but with all the much loved traditional characters and catchphrases of the genre present throughout.
Audience participation is a key element of any pantomime and Michael Bertenshaw (Prince Naw Ze Uzz) is both comfortable and confident leading the way. The perfect panto villain, he interacted with the audience revealing his evil plans before eventually seeing the error of his ways. However, as much as it is enjoyable to see a certain businessman turned politician being the punchline of a cleverly crafted anecdote, they would have had more of an impact had there not been quite so many.
The production is wonderfully visual, incorporating colourful animation, shadow projection and fun puppetry. Gemma Salter brings endless energy and comical choreography to the role of Funky, Sinbad and his sister’s monkey sidekick. The set was basic but enhanced by effective props and allowed those on stage enough space to bring the story to life. Every member of the cast gave a committed performance and there was a real sense of comardery and enjoyment from beginning to end.
This atmosphere of festive fun filled the theatre and the interval allowed for children, many experiencing the theatre for the first time, and adults alike to discuss their love of the show thus far. For many, watching a pantomime is a family affair and it must be said that the merchandise available, especially for the younger generation, seemed incredibly reasonable with prices under £5.
With standout vocal performances from Johnny Amobi (Nurse) and Alim Jayda (Captain Green Beard), an array of Christmas Cracker jokes for both young and old and a wonderfully entertaining tap number from Ben Goffe (Sultan), Sinbad the Sailor promises to be an entertaining outing for all the family this Christmas!
Join Sinbad the Sailor now at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until the January 21st January.