10 December to 8 January 2017
Reviewed by Claire Turner
An explosion of colour, laughter and singing – this was the start of the 2016 pantomime at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend! Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates. I didn’t think panto could get any better after Cinderella last year – but it did …
Brian Conley (back again) plays Robinson Crusoe and he is definitely still the funniest man in panto! Who knows if it’s scripted or ad-libbed, whether he’s supposed to laugh or cry – he’s got it! He is supported by Gok Wan who plays ‘the Spirit of the Ocean’, a panto fairy. The two work so well together sometimes you can’t tell if they meant to say it!
Evil pirate Blackheart is played by Alex Bourne – a great baddy who got multiple boos from the audience. David Robbins played the most wonderful part of Mrs Crusoe – Robinson’s Mum. He was everything a panto dame should be and more. The over the top (sometimes revealing) costumes and larger than life character really captured the audience’s attention.
I don’t think I can ever eat an apple again – poor Polly (played by Suzy Bastone) Robinson’s love interest won’t be able to either! She had a lovely part and is a great singer and actress.
The local ‘Junior Masters’ performing arts group took to the stage at various times and all performed very well.
There was lots of audience participation with a very reluctant lady being asked to join in the dancing on the stage – not sure she’ll ever forget that!!
This panto is very current with the songs chosen, the mannequin challenge in the middle, the jokes… Where would a panto be without jokes – everyone was laughing, including the children who maybe didn’t even get them, how could you not laugh when even Brain Conley and Gok Wan couldn’t speak from laughing!
There is so much to watch out for that I can’t mention it all – everyone needs some surprises when they watch it, but do go – I am going to go again but beware of the Kracken!
As always it is super easy to park on the sea front (free after 6pm) and walk up the steps to the theatre. We collected our tickets and a programme with no problems and my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to a mini pizza each from the foyer – this was a great addition to the menu choices and with no queues and plenty of tables upstairs to choose from we thoroughly enjoyed this treat. We had great seats at the rear of the stalls and didn’t miss a thing.
A very deserving 5 out of 5 stars from me.
Tickets cost from £26.50 to £40.50 (includes booking fee).
Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend until 8 January 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135