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Potted Panto at The Garrick Theatre | Review

Potted Panto is the perfect antidote to the recent Covid Lockdown, Brexit and everything we have all been through this year!

POTTED PANTO - Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson -Photo by Geraint Lewis.
POTTED PANTO – Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson – Photo by Geraint Lewis.

At its best, it is VERY funny and even if you go determined not to enjoy yourself, as the person in front of me clearly was! you will soon be swept along by the sheer energy of the performances.

In theory, Potted Panto consists of seven ( I think) pantomime stories retold by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner who also perform their own material. In practice, Potted Panto is just an excuse for some extremely bad jokes, for example about Boris Johnson, and madcap physical humour. Both actors play multiple roles in inventively designed (Nicky Bunch) quick-change costumes. They spar off each other delightfully with terrific pace, clearly loving working with each other, and it is impossible attempting to resist laughing constantly at their antics.

For those who love audience participation (and who doesn’t?) there are two opportunities, the first of which is perhaps a tad long – half the audience gradually gave up taking part before the end. Not all the script, in which Richard Hurst also had a hand, is as up to date and amusing as it could be: the section about Barbara Cartland seems very dated, and the first five minutes of the show are a bit laboured, but most hits home.

Undoubted highlights are the Ugly Sister scene from Cinderella and the retelling of Aladdin at the same time as A Christmas Carol (Abanazar/Ebenezer), and the whole 75 minutes of the production speed through leaving one wanting more, which is as it should be.

Charlotte Payne and Jacob Jackson appear occasionally as a fairy and nut seller, whilst the zany, highly talented Max Wilson and Liam Jeavons undertake Clarkson’s and Turner’s roles at some performances.

Seating in the Garrick Theatre has been reconfigured, especially in the stalls where legroom has never been so expansive and Covid Secure measures are clearly being taken seriously by the management.

All in all, undemanding festive cheer, just the right length, and highly recommendable for ‘children of all ages’.

4 stars

Review by John Groves

In a madcap ride through the biggest stories and best-loved characters from the wonderful world of pantomime, our dastardly double act dash from rubbing Aladdin’s lamp to roaming the golden streets of Dick Whittington’s London and making sure that Cinderella gets to the Ball. Not to mention the full-scale versions of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty which see Dan and Jeff trying to work out not only how two people can play 7 dwarves, but also which of them will make the prettiest princess!

Cast: Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner, with Jacob Jackson, Charlotte Payne.

Creative team: Director Richard Hurst, Set and Costume Design Simon Scullion and Nicky Bunch, Lighting Design Tim Mascall, Sound Design Tom Lishman and Leigh Davies, Producer James Seabright.

Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0HH

Saturday 5 December, 2020
to Sunday 10 January, 2021
Duration: 70 minutes no interval
Age recommendation: 6+


  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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