Thurrock panto - the review

Thurrock Gazette: The cast receive applause at the end of their performance The cast receive applause at the end of their performance

THIS was my first taste of panto in a long time.

During my years as a teen, I tried to avoid anything that someone younger - or older, even - might enjoy. It couldn't possibly be cool.

But having more or less gotten over myself in recent years, I jumped at the chance to see this year's panto at the Thameside Theatre.

This was a colourful and energetic show.

Wain Douglas, in his third season as the Thurrock dame, was quick to engage in banter with the older audience members, telling the slightly more adult jokes, while Simple Si kept the younger ones entertained with his juvenile jibes - which actually had me chuckling...

Natalie Cassidy put in a solid performance as the fairy, not afraid to quip about her role in Eastenders.

Then there was Poison Ivy, the villain of the piece, who cackled and crowed as she caused trouble. A chorus of boos rang out each time she appeared, with the young chap behind me eventually concluding: "I really don't like that girl!"

A talented troupe of dancers performed routines to modern classics such as Robbie Williams Candy and Lady Gaga’s The Edge.

Former S Club Junior Jay Perry was the cast’s stand-out vocalist. His rendition of The Temptations' I'm Ready was particularly good.

And as the well known story of Jack and the Beanstalk unravels, there are one or two big surprises.

My only criticism would be that after helping Simple Si grow his sweet tree to the "tippedy-top" throughout the show - on the promise of sweets - his meagre handouts when the tree was finally fully grown left the vast majority of youngsters in the auditorium disappointed and sweet-less. This though, is easily remedied.

All-in-all, this show - with its colourful costumes and set - is highly entertaining, good fun and well performed, with jokes and songs for all the family.

All that within the confines of the intimate Thameside Theatre makes this a great evening for all - even teenagers who think they’re too cool!

*Tickets are still for sale for the show which is running until Sunday, January 5. Call 0845 3005264 or email Thurrock.gov.uk/thamesside-theatre. Tickets start from £12.50.

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