So with the lack of theatre this year, this December we had the release of The Gift Musical. Bringing to us the first ever Film-O-Mime, and plenty of cameos from household names. Was this to be the gift we all need this christmas though? If you like classic panto then you should love this!
What’s it all about? It’s Christmas Eve when two girls (Polly and Olivia Head) fall into the magical world of books. With the help of Buttons (Joe Pasquale) the girls must avoid the evil clutches of Abanaza (Vas Blackwood) and with the help of the good fairy (Caprice Bourret)and The Fairy Godmother (Vanessa Feltz) find there way back home to the real world and Dad (Chesney Hawkes)
What do you expect from a panto when you go to the theatre as an adult? For me, i think its daftness mostly. A traditonal story filled with dad jokes, and musical numbers. In this, children will love the daftness, adults will shake their head at the jokes but laugh. Its an original story and one for all the family.
Filled with more cameos appearances than your normal stage panto, we get the likes of Joe Pasquale, Caprice Bourret, Vas Blackwood, Vanessa Feltz, the one and only Chesney Hawkes. (See what i done there!) It also has Abz (5ive), Dane Bowers (Another Level), Paul Danan (Hollyoaks), Sandi Bogle (Gogglebox), Myra Dubois (BGT) and even more to name.
It’s not a million pound production so dont expect it. It’s set in a fantasy land, mostly in a local library. Prince Charming also refers to it when saying ‘Its not much of a set is it? But like the reply from Genie Ben Ofoedu, ”It’s not what its like outside, it’s what’s inside. Have you never heard of a fairytale?”
We follow the journey to return the girls Polly and Olivia to the real world aided by Joe pasquale as Buttons, while avoiding Hoobie Doobie Da…sorry i mean Abanaza. This leads them to meet a range of well known fantasy characters from different stories. From Buttons, Hook, Beast (from beauty and the beast), Snow White, The Genie, Prince (not so) Charming, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Good Fairy, Sleepy, Widow Twanky, Dick Whittington, and more.
It’s a musical, so what about the songs i hear you say! Well surprisingly catchy! You may laugh at the theme of some of the songs but I found myself bopping my head. Especially as i rewatched the film a second time.
The first ‘The magic of a good book’ performed by Jesse Hawkes takes us into the world of the library and fanatasy, reminding us how we can get lost in a good book. One of my favourite scenes was Blind date in the woods and it was accompanied by ‘This Time’ which was my favourite song (i think i’ve memorised half the words now), performed by Dane Bowers was on another level for me (sorry – if you understood the pun)!
This film is full of potential club anthems and another cracker ‘I got to bake’ by Michael Head as Widow Twanky. Luke Jordan Callow entertained with his welsh accent as Smee and gave us a little rap in a song called Pirate Slide. You can’t have Chesney Hawkes in your film and not have a song from him though, and he brought a nice contrast to the more upbeat songs with ‘Never be apart’ which was lovely ballad.
As well as the blind date in the woods scene, some of my other highlights were Dick Whittington’s monologue with a constant changing of greens screens, sees him driving amongst a range of funny scenes and locations. The constant incorrect naming of Abanazar was a constant laugh. We get the traditonal panto ‘Its behind you shout’ in a way i’ve not seen before. Myra Dubois giving us some interpretive dance. Some scenes are daft, some stupid, but all the time funny. The film manages to entertain throughout. Adults will probably recognise the cast more than the children, as well as of the some references, but theres more than enough to give the children some laughs in this.
Also a shout out to Olivia and Polly Head, of whom it centres around. Making what i believe to be their on screen debuts, brought out laughs with their delivery of jokes.
The Gift Musical is a very light hearted, family comedy. It doesn’t take itself serious, just as a panto doesn’t. So you shouldnt either. Definitely worth a watch! It also is raising money for NHS Charities, so dont be a scrooge or a Gringe, give it a watch!