Review: Little Red Riding Hood Easter Panto

Review: Little Red Riding Hood Easter Panto

The Customs House – 31st March 2024

We were lucky enough to be asked along to The Customs House this weekend for their Easter Panto, Little Red Riding Hood. Directed by Steven Lee Hamilton and written by Ray Spencer and Graeme Thompson, this Easter Pantomime runs from Sunday 31st March – Saturday 6th April.

We joined a packed Customs House for the early show and got comfy for the bumper packed show. The scene was opened with the two main antagonists, first Madame Bracken (Eleanor Chaganis), and then joined on stage by fellow villain Wolfgang (Dale Jewitt).  The plot follows the traditional story but with a few of the the usual ‘Cookson’ twists.  As villains go they both brought all of the required deviousness and distrustfulness. They got the crowd going, with adults and kids alike screaming at them during their dastardly deeds. As a duo they worked really well with each other, with just right level of wickedness, coupled with enough incompetence that younger viewers were not too scared their nefarious schemes might ever really truly endanger our heroine.

The star of the show Little Red Riding Hood (Beth Ellis) was introduced to us along with Cousin Dennis, the hapless but lovable woodcutter (Glen Richard-Townsend). Firm favourites with the younger in the audience they brought a lot of energy to the show, with fabulous performances.

Prince William Chopolot (Suryan Hadrick), was the love interest and brought a funny posh but dim take on the classic Prince Charming.

The three pigs joined the story with Bratwurst (Thomas Hewitt), Chorizo (Lucy Davis) and Saveloy (Aiden Nord), each with their own character and comical accent, adding humour while bringing the whole story along, knitting together this well known fable with the darker fairytale Red Riding Hood.

No panto would be complete without a Dame, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint! This particular Dame was Grannie Hood (Tom Whalley). Bold and larger than life, Grannie Hood had the audience crying in laughter with both the expected sass, brass and lack of class, combined with some really great slapstick and comedy improvisation. Her and Cousin Dennis genuinely looked like they were going to crack each other up at times and it had a great “anything might happen” feel! The double entendres were thick and fast, and walked the tightrope of a line between too rude or not, very well. There was plenty of jokes for just the adults and some great truly cringeworthy puns to boot!!

As the story progressed there were some good changes of pace and style, with singing , dancing, audience participation, in jokes for the local regulars and great set pieces. There was the obligatory “He’s behind you!” moments, delivered with the required level of ham and enthusiasm. The audience loved these and really got behind the characters, screaming the house down!

As the story came to a dramatic climax there was some genuinely scary moments that had the audience on the edge of their seats, giving the right level of peril and worry that the villains might get away with it before bringing them crashing back down to earth as the goodies save the day.

All in all The Customs House Easter Panto was a huge success, and we’d definitely recommend it! It brings everything you want form a pantomime, and is entertaining for both kids and adults. With something for everyone!

Little Red Riding Hood Easter Panto runs until Saturday 6th April. So hurry, don’t miss out on this fabulous family fun! You can get tickets and more information here.

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