Friday, 5 February 2016

mirror mirror

On Monday 21 December we went to the matinee of Mirror Mirror, Charles Court Opera's panto (based on Snow White) at the King's Head Theatre. We enjoyed it.

We'd seen their 2014 panto, Billy The Kid, at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, which was pretty good (but not as good as I'd hoped); we enjoyed this one more. We've been to quite a lot of London pantos over the years - at our peak perhaps three or four in a year - but in the last two years these were the only ones we went to I think. Billy The Kid was our first CCO panto, but not production; I/we have seen a number of their G&S productions at Rosemary Branch and King's Head.

Being an opera company, the singing was excellent, and the songs were on the whole my favourite kind of panto songs - not original songs, but well-known songs with lyrics rewritten to a greater or lesser extent. The acting and script were also good, the former not always guaranteed with musicals and the latter rarely guaranteed with pantos.

John Savournin - writer, director and Dame - was excellent as ever. I think Amy J Payne has a great voice and presence. And I enjoyed Nichola Jolley's voice a lot too, a strong and natural-feeling voice which lent itself well to the material - I'd say pop/soul if required to characterise it. None of the singing was in the archetypal 'stage musical' style, which I'm not keen on, nor was it overly operatic. As with the G&S, the singing is on the whole just right for their productions, and the performances too. One person played all the seven non-Disney dwarfs, which was done quite well.

One of the most striking, and bold, decisions was to end the first half with the wicked queen successfully killing one of the dwarves, and starting the second half with a seriously done funeral. It's impressive that they pulled it off, tonally and dramatically, and that it didn't feel out of place.

Some reviews (not many big hitters in the top two pages, more less familiar or new sites; interestingly, fewer of the ones which are essentially theatregoers' personal blogs and more online review sites with aspirations). What's On Stage (reminds me of the 'One Day More' number in which they mashed up a number of different songs which I presume followed a similar chord pattern and the kind of thing I've seen done before, but which was done very well). The Charles Court Opera's production page. A Younger Theatre ('The original script is written by John Savournin who also plays the dame. It has to be said: Savournin is a comic genius. The script is jam packed full of jokes, rhymes and cultural references, it’s hard not to become completely hooked whilst watching.'). (Reminders that Snow was the widow of Barry.) LondonTheatre1 (new to me, I think, one of those which are really a ticket-selling website, so their good reviews aren't entirely disinterested). The Stage. Webcowgirl (who hasn't come up for a while, I think, but I remember being on the same wavelength; it sounds like her review of the adult version, which would have been worth making clear; they had about equal numbers of adult and family performances, I think). EverythingTheatre. Grumpy Gay Critic (very thorough). The Reviews Hub. London Box Office (another ticket agency review). British Theatre Guide. The Upcoming (new to me, pretty sure). Female Arts (new to me). My Theatre Mates (another new one, in an interesting model which actually draws in reviews from others as well as the two reviewers behind the site, in this case from The Play's The Thing). UK Theatre Network (ditto). West End Wilma. BroadwayWorld. Finally, an interview with John Savournin in ThisWeekLondon. Pretty much everybody pretty much loved it.