Review: The Little Mermaid Rock ‘n’ Roll panto at the Everyman

Adam Keast and Francis Tucker. Photo by Robert Day

By Andy Green

IT’S that time of the year again when the panto invites start coming thick and fast. I normally pass most of them on to my colleague who is more appreciative of the genre but when it comes to the Everyman panto…it’s mine, I’m going, end of.

This year writers Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton have given us their wonderfully silly take on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Little Mermaid.

Everyman panto stalwarts Adam Keast and Francis Tucker return (there’d be an outcry if they didn’t) as Captain Nemo and mermaid Pearl. They essentially play the same characters with different names year after year but we wouldn’t have it any other way – they are the Everyman panto and we love them.

Also returning is brilliant actress, singer and musician Lucy Thatcher as the villainous Ivanna. Her facial expressions alone can induce a full-on belly laugh.

Regular guitar whiz Tom Connor gives a deliciously daft performance as the forgetful Flounder and Stephanie Hockley is a delightfully dippy Marina.

Jamie Noar plays the tall, dark, handsome Prince Hal. He sings, he dances, he plays musical instruments and he’s tall, dark and handsome. It’s not fair. I hate him.

The rest of the incredibly multi-talented cast is made up of Danny Burns, Elizabeth Robin and Imelda Warren-Green, who each play multiple roles and a variety of instruments.

Musical director Greg Last leads the band as the actors swap instruments throughout the show to produce some stonking, stomping sounds.

It’s a fabulous set designed by Dinah England and director Mark Chatterton makes full use of the jiggery pokery available from the Everyman’s versatile stage.

All pantos are known for the innuendo that (hopefully) whizzes over the heads of the kids in the audience but I think Nixon and Chatterton have taken it to a whole new level this year. Knowing sniggers became uproarious guffaws as bemused children wondered why all these adults found ‘Give it a test tickle’ so funny.

As is tradition at an Everyman panto, the audience gets a thorough soaking and, for the second year running, I received it full in the face (ooer missus). Do they know where the press are sitting?

If you’ve never been to an Everyman panto then you don’t know what you’re missing, if you have been before then you’ve probably already got your tickets.

This is the most original panto in town, nay the Universe!

The Little Mermaid is at the Everyman until Jan 20 2018.
www.everymanplayhouse.com