Before being whisked away on a journey of colour, laughter and mayhem, the words Summer and Pantomime was a questionable concept… however this week, in The MET Studio (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre) Creative Stage Productions bought forward a show that left the tinsel in December and instead presented a show that was quickly paced but was full of fun for children and adults alike.
The fun very much began as soon as you enter the intimate venue with Director (and Scarecrow) Scott Bagnall throwing the audience into the madness with a preshow that allowed you to get comfortable with the tongue in cheek tone of the evening.
Standout performances were given from Ian Hill playing the Cowardly Lion who was able to give the warm nostalgia of the 1939 movie, while tickling the funny bones performing the role with a strong Stoke-On-Trent accent. His vocal and physical characterisation was held throughout and made for an entertaining performance. Dan Dayle made for an extremely slimy Flesh-creep, he nailed his performance with children and adults alike squirming at his performance, while beaming with a smile at his very funny comic delivery.
Lewis Warren & Scott Bagnall provide plenty of laughs during the production playing the Tin Man and Scarecrow, respectively. Two special moments without giving two much away involve a very funny scene involving a certain BBC quiz show and the story of an unfortunate meal! Emily Oakes played the wide eyed Dorothy perfectly, the young children in the audience were attached to her performance the moment she entered the stage and delivered a show stealing performance, of Home from The Wiz.
An army of young dancers flooded the stage to provide brilliant chorus numbers, with the chorus playing an array of fantastic characters, from Munchkins to Monkeys and Ghosts to Ozians, they provided fantastic moments in the show, however a greater focus on emotions, simply smiling during the upbeat numbers would have lifted the overall essence of fun during these numbers.
The MET Studio was cleverly transformed through scenes with projections and lighting, however some of the action was missed due to the staging of the production, and it is certainly worth making sure that you are able to get to the venue early, and sitting in the middle of the seats, to make sure that children do not miss out on any of the magical action.
With fast paced humour and plenty of songs for all the family, Creative Stage Productions have delivered a fantastic two hours of escapism for families this summer, with lots of humour improvised on the night (watch out if you don’t turn your phone off!), it’s a perfect treat for children, to be swept over the rainbow!
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