Grove Theatre, Dunstable
13 December 2013 – 5 January 2014
Reviewed by Sandra McGhee
Once again I was very lucky having the chance to review a show/pantomine at my local theatre the Grove located in the centre of Dunstable along with my husband and 3 children aged 14, 13 & 9! Upon collecting our tickets and programme we ordered a quick drink at the bar where the staff were very friendly as usual and efficient. Once directed to our seats situated in Stalls G5 we were delighted with our view which was very central and perfect place to sit and see the show. There was an instant buzz of a very packed and excited audience waiting in anticipation for the show to commence which did very punctually.
I didn't expect anything less than what was in store, we had a grand entrance and appearance who better than Dirty Rat (Leslie Grantham) who best known to most for his role of Den Watts (Dirty Den) in soap known to most, Eastenders amongst starring in dozens of television programmes as well as numerous pantomines. Leslie's performance was fantastic, he certainly suited the part of the Dirty Rat and was brilliant the whole time he spent on the stage, perfect, he got lots of boos, but it was obvious everyone loved him too and plenty of applause.
Another very famous actor who also appeared in a well-known soap (Neighbours) Ryan Moloney travelled the other side of the world to join the rest of the cast and played Idle Jack and again gave a super performance. The rest of the cast were all just as important in bringing this pantomime together, these included Lucy Reed (Alice), Ben Irish (Dick Whittington), Leon Craig (Sarah the Cook), Jasette Amos (Fairy Bowbells), Nyhal Adams (Captian Capsize) and George Jonhson (Seaman Scupper). The whole cast were well rehearsed and suited together, they all gave such a splendid evening of entertainment. Not forgetting the stunning ballet dancers and little ones who all looked so really happy to be part of this pantomime and performing on stage and deserve to be applauded for their part in gelling the show together. All of the costumes were colourful and beautiful and the props, stage sets scenes all very well put together quite cleverly. Another little bonus if you had little ones was animated fish swimming at the bottom of the sea, something for everyone.
Without giving too much away, if you want a couple of hours of constant laughter, real panto style with loads of audience participation what a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening totally recommend you going to get you in the festive spirit. The first half was over before you could blink really but this was because it was so entertaining and after the interval the second half was just as good with even more laughter and singing.
The production also featured a fantastic five piece band, so in my opinion Magic Beans Pantomimes working together with the Grove Theatre mastered and choreographed a spectacular performance and did a very good job in doing so with some real talented actors, very mixed bag and variety of entertainment. A show to suit audiences from toddlers to 100 and not to be missed.
Worth every penny, one of the best pantos I've seen at the Grove and I've been most years for the past decade!
Again to sum it up a spectacular traditional pantomime, highly entertaining, not to be missed!
Tickets cost from £11 to £23.50 (plus £1.50 booking fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here.