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Review of THE UGLIES TAKE PENGE at Bridge House Theatre SE20

The Uglies Take PengeAnnie and Fannie, aka the ugly sisters of Cinders fame, are fed up of slaving for their better looking step-sibling. They’ve run away to Penge, in the vicinity of Crystal Palace. And what does one hope to find in palaces? You guessed it. Princes, of course! Welcomed into the glitzy and theatrical rental accommodation that’s rather below the expectation of these two luxuriant ladies, the audience spends a night in their company, becoming privy to the hopes and dreams, fears and desires of these two, usually maligned, panto villains.

Entertaining and larger than life on the tiny Bridge House stage, these two accomplished drag artists, Jonathan Barnes and David Kent, fill the room with appreciative laughter at their gags, show tunes and ribbing. Their excellent voices harmonise wonderfully to strong comic effect for what would otherwise be a slightly mundane and predictable score. Lots of thought has been put into the sparkly costumes and the obvious delight that Annie and Fannie take in their wardrobes is infectious. Beware male audience members – this is a pair of irrepressible man eaters!

To conform with panto tradition the show meets expectations, from getting squirted with a water gun to ‘its behind you’ and the sing-song competition that demands enthusiastic audience participation. This show has energy and pizazz; sweets, garish colours, a jazz hands score and fast paced script which all bring out the inner child and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s more, although very dependent on audience participation, and despite the proximity to the stage, Annie and Fannie make you feel incredibly comfortable. I went along with two male friends who got an extraordinary amount of attention from the sisters – well we were on the front row. I have to say, far from looking coy, they both revelled in it!

In some ways it does feel like this is a show that’s fallen between two stools – it’s not ribald enough to be that satisfying a watch for adults who want an alternative and outrageously bawdy panto. Nor does it have the narrative appeal or spectrum of characters that might hold a child’s attention for the duration. That being said, it’s still a great laugh and if you’re passing the Bridge House why not stop in for dinner and the show. Be sure that The Uglies will reward your efforts

3 Star Review

Review by Annemarie Hiscott

The Uglies Take Penge is a brand new take on the traditional Panto Dame formula; Annie and Fannie are heading to the Palace to meet their new sister Cinderella for the very first time – however en route they lose their way and end up in deepest, darkest south east London…Can you help Annie and Fannie reunite with their sister Cinderella?…Oh yes you can!

The show is supported by original music (ranging from ‘torch-songs’ to disco), an acid witted script full of cheeky double-entendres, stunnung costumes, and fabulous big hair! As in the very best pantomime tradition this show is for kids and adults alike, it’s very much for the child in us all!! The show garnered great reviews in Edinburgh, including an elusive 5 stars from The Scotsman newspaper.

Friday 12th December 2014 – Sunday 21st December 2015
Visit Bridge House Theatre website for performance times and tickets

Monday 15th December 2014


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