Monday, December 15, 2014

'Calamity Jon' by Lea Pryer

15 December 2014

It's always a pleasure to return to the TADS Theatre in Toddington to see an original pantomime written and directed by the excellent Lea Pryer. Following 'The Pirate Princess' (reviewed here in December 2010) and 'Rapunzel' (reviewed here in December 2012), last Saturday we were in the Wild West of Bedfordshire for 'Calamity Jon'. This was a delightful mash-up of half-remembered Westerns, with all the usual pantomime components including a remarkably well-spoken pantomime horse (played by Judy Palmer). Once again Rachel Price's facial expressions stole the show – here playing the hero, Jonathon B Goode. TADS newcomer Nadia McMahon-Wilson impressed as Dusty Rhodes – subverting the principal boy role and maintaining the most consistent cowboy accent of the evening. While not quite hitting the heights of those earlier Lea Pryer pantomimes, and hampered by a disappointingly small audience, 'Calamity Jon' had some beautiful little comic touches. I particularly enjoyed Kevin Birkett's undertaker (Phil de Grave) who had barely a line of dialogue but was extremely funny as he sized up each potential gunfight victim with a tape-measure and a deadpan expression. And I loved the extremely talented Lea Pryer's original song 'No one loves a tomboy' – yee hah!

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