POTTED PANTO at London's Southwark Playhouse
Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson: photo Geraint Lewis

Jingle those bells. Christmas has come to London's Southwark Theatre with a resounding whoopee! Potted Panto, written and performed by Olivier Award nominees Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner fills the space of this London venue for its fifth season. Since their inception in 2005, the fabulous duo has taken their productions throughout the UK and overseas and is expanding their listings for the future. And rightly so! This is a show not to be missed. Co-written and directed by Richard Hurst and strongly supported by their creative team we are treated to 80 minutes of crazy shenanigans, countless costume changes (astounding, Nicky Bunch!), brilliant audience participation and a whizz-bang ride through the much loved pantomime tales with which we have grown up.

This cheeky pair, who play off each other brilliantly, offer shortened versions of seven tales, including Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Snow White, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Sleeping Beauty adding their take and achieving guffaws galore. Somewhat reminiscent of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, this is high speed and high energy performance which leaves you breathless but gasping for more.

With their distinct personalities, each play off the other. It may seem like improvisation, and at parts it is as they respond to the feel of their audience, but it is closely rehearsed. With superb comic timing, they take all the parts, changing costumes and props at lightning speed and drawing gasps of delight from their audience, both young and old. Apart from a short appearance by the singing fairy (Charlotte Payne) and Mr Nut (Jacob Jackson), who somehow finds his way from Dickens 'Christmas Carol', the pair inhabit the stage for the total performance, never keeping still and using the space fully.

Do we sit back and relax? No siree! We participate with glee in what can only be termed as 80 minutes of immense fun. Forget any inhibitions, join in and 'bring it on'.

What can I say? This 'alternative' pantomime is great fun with corny but laugh out loud gags, sing-a-longs, daft dances, buckets of poo (don't ask!) and an assortment of crazy props and costumes. It may not be traditional but that is its allure. It is disrespectfully glorious, creative and inventive, offers heaps of laughs and is not to be missed. Playing until 11 January 2020, this is a production of energy, escapism and chuckles with a resultant hoot and thunderous applause from the entire audience.

Good on you, Potted Panto. Must make sure I book a seat for December 2020's 6th production - please.

Listings Information

Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 8BD
Dates Running until 11 January 2020
Times Evenings 7.30 pm, Tues/Sat matinees 3 pm with additional Christmas matinees.
Booking www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk no booking fees or 020 7407 0234
Ticket prices £25 (concession £20), family tickets £80
Twitter @swkplay @PottedPanto #PottedPanto