Reviewed by Diana Eccleston for The Croydon Advertiser
Come with me to the kasbah
A brand new pantomime, Lionheart, made its debut on the festive scene at the weekend.
This adventure is set in the days of King Richard’s Crusades to rid the Holy Land of the evil infidel Saladin and is by Theatre Workshop Coulsdon member Richard Lloyd.
It is always exciting to see something new and this show is full of good ideas, though does not always fulfill its potential.
It is a mistake to have so much of the action on the floor of the hall as even adults in the audience can only see the actors’ heads.
But the biggest disappointment is the Dame; not so much Tim Young’s characterisation but his appearance.
He is rather low key for so important a role and his costumes are nothing short of dowdy. I know Dame Dollop is supposed to live in a hovel in a turnip patch but in panto that’s no excuse!
Who wants a dame in a mousey wig and headscarf wearing a drab dress and apron? Not to mention Tim’s beard. Audiences want a gaudy, colourful creature with bright wigs and bizarre frocks.
Jollying-up Dane Dollop’s appearance would probably give the actor the confidence to be more extrovert in his portrayal.
Some of the other costumes are very good, with camp genie Alka Seltzer (Bruce Montgomery) and the Grand Vizier (Martin Cole) faring particularly well.
Chris Argles certainly gets the plum role as “utter villain” Saladin and lives up to it in every way; a real delight to hiss at.
Rebecca Ford gives an assured performance as Hassan, the bandit with curiously gentlemanly manners and accent which are the key to his real identity. She has comic qualities akin to those of the late Joyce Grenfell – and that’s a big compliment.
Also splendid is Lisa Boniface as Tommy, niece of Dame Dollop who has a crush on Richard the Lionheart and sets off to join his Crusade but lands up in Saladin’s dastardly clutches.
Richard Lloyd, who also directs, and Robert Del Toro are palace guards Oshgosh and Babu with accents so string it is not always easy to make out what they are saying.
Tatiana Allison as Saladin’s head wife Yasmin, Mike Brown as the eunuch Ibn Dun and Paul M Ford as doped and dopey assassin Ali-Kat fill their supporting roles well.
And I must mention Donald the pantomime camel…
Robert Del Toro
Paul M Ford
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