Thursday, 26 March 2015

billy the kid

On Tuesday 30 December the three of us went to a matinee of Billy The Kid, the Charles Court Opera panto, at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, courtesy of comp tickets from Anna Rebmann, who was working on the production.

We enjoyed it, but I didn't enjoy it as much as their G&S Patience. It was our only panto of the year, though; we did our time with pantos in the early family years, and don't go to so many now (in fact it's striking that I have no memory of coming across their pantos before, though we were always on the lookout, yet this was something like their eighth; perhaps we didn't consider it because of its location, but it's a couple of easy bus rides away). Amy J Payne and Joanna Marie Skillett were in it from Patience, and the director John Savournin was in it this time; he played the dame, and had also written the script. Again, the singing was good, the acting and script were as you'd expect from a panto (more innuendo than would have been my preference); John S probably the best performance, Amy J Payne good too; and I liked, as ever, the use of pop songs.

It was my first time at the Rosemary Branch, and it was full. Another pub theatre, but upstairs, and raked. Novel approach to seating in that they allocate your seats by name once they've got all the bookings in, for optimisation for groups and ages, and need for extra seats squeezed in; I was on a chair beside the lighting desk; the other two were in the 'box', which was indeed a box at the back but with only room for a cosy two.

Some reviews. Camden Review (which reminds me that they did adult-only performances, presumably when they ramped up the rudeness). Everything Theatre. Theatre Cat (Libby Purves' 'amateur' reviews). LondonTheatre1 (mainly a ticket agency, I think). Broadway World. The Upcoming. Grumpy Gay Critic. UK Theatre Network. British Theatre Guide. Ham & High. East End Review. Ginger Hibiscus. Time Out. A Younger Theatre. Well, I certainly wouldn't rave about it the way some of those did (especially about the villain, who I didn't appreciate), and not just because I was disappointed by comparison with how much I enjoyed Patience. They throw around the word 'boutique' a lot too, which relates to the small size of the cast, as per their 'boutique operas'.

Finally, here's the relevant Charles Court Opera past production page, complete with video.