Reviewed by Bec Wong
Lockdown has meant making a lot of sacrifices of many kinds for all of us. If you’re like me and have kids, one event we always look forward to at Easter is the Panto at St.Helens Theatre Royal. However, thanks to the amazing team at the theatre we have been able to enjoy an Easter panto, from or own home.
Each day from Easter Sunday at 130pm, the Panto has aired either through their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sthelenstheatreroyal/ or thorough their Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/theatreroyalsthelens/ . It will run until Saturday 18th April and lasts for between 10-15 minutes each day which is just perfect for restless little people whose attention span is getting less and less as lockdown goes on. My 5 year old wakes up each day and reminds me immediately that the Panto is at 130pm, she gets very excited about each instalment.
But this is a panto with a difference. The lockdown and social distancing rules mean that the actors and production team can’t attend the theatre but they haven’t let this stop them. The actors have performed their parts from their own homes, with some brilliant and amusing resourceful adjustments to create a lovely engaging story of the Princess Rapunzel (Olivia Sloyan)who was taken from her parents the King and Queen (played by Warren Donnelly and Samantha Palin) by the wicked witch Quarantina (played by James Lacey). Rapunzel has been locked in a tower (I’m sure we can relate) which can only be accessed by climbing up her unusually long beautiful locks by the Wicked Witch. The King and Queen are desperate to get their daughter back after 18 years and so send the Prince (played by Andrew Geater) with a little help from Daft Dave (played by the hilarious Lewis Devine) to go and save her. With the fairy Anna(logue) expertly guiding us through the story (played by Abby Middleton) with her trusty spoon as a wand.
The story has been skilfully edited together complete with lots of music and special effects. We may be missing out on the theatre experience but this is a real treat that can be accessed by anyone worldwide! It’s a lovely idea to show the panto in short bite-size instalments that run over the Easter week. If you’ve been to a panto at St.Helens before you’ll also be treated to lots of little cameo’s from many familiar faces which is an added bonus. If you’ve missed the story so far, not to worry, as each instalment can be watched at anytime on the Facebook and Instagram platforms.
If all that isn’t enough, it’s also absolutely FREE!!!! If you would like to make a donation the theatre are raising money for St.Helens and Whiston Hospitals to help support our NHS hero’s during the COVID crisis. Details of the this can be found on the Face book page. St.Helens really are the theatre that keep on giving.
Thank you St.Helens for bringing this fun family experience into our homes, and for the thought and effort that has gone into this truly selfless act!
So add it to your lockdown list of fun things to do with the family and get your theatre fix to keep you going until we can visit this great theatre once more.