Lockdown review: The Fairytale Revolution

In this female-led, live-streamed panto, the first from Theatre503, reviving their hit festive show from 2019, we watch as Wendy from Peter Pan joins forces with a reformed Captain Hook to destroy “the evil narrator”.

In this fast moving Fairytale Revolution full of singing, dancing, bad jokes and women tugging back their rightful place as strong leads in children’s literature, the three-strong cast bring their energy and ability to clown to the pub theatre stage.

As this is live-streamed through Vimeo, there can only be an approximation of audience participation through recorded crowd noise, but somehow it works. The musical numbers nod to Rocky Horror, Hamilton and more, and characters such as Bo-Peep and Aladdin join in to help or hinder.

The brightly coloured set (by Zahra Mansouri) is dazzling, practical and well-used,with mishaps, planned or otherwise, treated with impeccable comic timing. The script is cleverly anarchic as the characters can’t agree on the show’s direction – set to please both younger viewers and adults who tune in.

As this is not a traditional family pantomime, nor a version aimed at adults with X-rated jokes, it serves well as a solid fringe show to amuse, entertain and even educate. It’s great to see characters from the background have their time in the spotlight.

This is about girl power, popular culture and badass women with weapons. With each performance (directed by Emily Aboud, with movement by Chi-San Howard, with musical direction by Alice Boyd) streamed live from the theatre, anything could happen and probably will.

It is a bit crowded with ideas at times, perhaps a little clumsy, but curious children will enjoy, and co-writers and performers Louise Beresford (Hook) and Anna Spearpoint (Tinkerbell/Peter) never take a breath, with Nicole Sawyerr a thriving Wendy.

You can catch future performances of The Fairytale Revolution until 23 December by booking here (tickets are £10). I reviewed from a recording of the show on the 19 December – many thanks to Theatre503 for accommodating after yesterday’s tech problems meant I ran out of time to watch!

Image credit: Theatre503

LouReviews received complimentary access to review The Fairytale Revolution.