Norwich Theatre Playhouse is turning the festive Christmas tradition of the pantomime on its head. Whether you are a lover of the panto or you feel they are not for you. Here are the reasons why you should give this alternative pantomime a go.
On stage at the Playhouse in Norwich until 19th December.
1. A Christmas panto, but not as you know it.
If the classic pantomime is not your thing, then don’t miss the Panto at Norwich Theatre Playhouse. Robin Good: The Politico Panto, offers audiences an alternative and modern take on pantomime. It’s willfully woke and full of satire.
Like a traditional panto, it’s crammed to the rafters with jokes. It takes a satirical spin on the politics of the day, so be prepared to laugh at both sides of the political divide. Think Have I Got News for You, but with a tad more sparkle.
The show is set in Norfolk, where the baddie Barry is the Sheriff of Norwich. Of course, with a play set in Norwich, they couldn’t get away without poking fun at Norfolk! With jokes such as “I came via Greater Anglia, How did you get here so quick … Well I left yesterday!”, it is hard not to laugh.
4. Gender identity.
The show challenges gender identity by removing the binary categories altogether. For example, Robin and Marion are both non-binary, but while this is discussed briefly, it is only one part of who they are, also being vegan and socialist.
The hope is that the show will spark conversation about the fluidity of gender and allow young people to be more comfortable with themselves.
When you look at the stage, you would be forgiven to think it looks like storage, and you would be right. The play is set in a panto warehouse where pantomimes of Christmases past have exploded out of the box. Throughout the show, you should be able to spot the previous pantomimes dotted across the stage.
6. The politics.
We know Robin and Marion are vegan and socialist, but on the other side Barry, the Sheriff of Norwich, is much more right-wing. One of his policies as Sheriff of Norwich is to turn Norfolk into a holiday resort for the mega-rich, deporting everyone who lives in Norfolk to Suffolk. So making it very much a case of left vs right, and of course, it wouldn’t be a take on Robin Hood without rich vs poor.
But, it is not just national politics covered with many issues that will resonate with people right here in Norfolk.
7. Written by James McDermott.
James is a Norfolk based writer and one of the writers on EastEnders, so expect drama from the off! In writing Robin Good, James wanted to turn the panto on its head, open up the pantomime, and suggest what this would look like in real life.
8. The instruments.
Have you ever gone to a show and thought, wow, when an actor plays a musical instrument live. Well, this show sees four actor-musicians play more than 20 instruments live on stage! Ranging from guitars and drums all the way through to a trombone and, of course, don’t forget the tambourine.
9. The music.
When listening to the music and songs in Robin Good, be prepared for something familiar that you quite can’t put your finger on. The composer of all the music, Max Gallagher, has hidden nursery rhymes within the orchestration. How many can you spot?
10. A drag queen dame.
What is a pantomime without a dame, right! But, Robin Good’s dame is more than just a dame. They are a drag queen! Drag Queen Dame Stratton Strawless is Robin’s Dad no less and rocks a lovely dress with sparkly red Dorothy shoes. You will have to find out if the library is open with this one!
11. A show to see with your mates.
Robin Good: The Politico Panto is an alternative version you can take your mates to, for a good fun night out. Undoubtedly different, it might just spark a conversation!
Robin Good: The Politico Panto is on at the Norwich Theatre Playhouse until 19th December.