Kidz R Us, St Ives Theatre
Review by John Hancock
THERE'S something very British about a pantomime. The lead is usually a woman played by a man (Kyle Nicholas's beautifully timed Mother Goose); the leading man is a long-legged young woman (tailor-made for Sophie Colley); there's a fairy and a wicked demon (Hannah Beadnel and Brandon Dennis, in a story that reflects the perils of avarice and the ultimate triumph of good.
There's music, dancing, fantasy and great fun – courtesy of TJ Richards on the night I was there, and the side achingly funny Caleb Harris and Joe Dann.
That predictability has its advantages; audiences can focus on the performances which, if you get your act together for a visit to the Kidz production, you'll find are fabulous.
These youngsters yield no leeway for age or amateur status: the company holds to the ethos that the audience must be dazzled and they succeed; no ifs, no buts.
The dancing was precise and slick, quite in keeping with the very contemporary music and right up to the standard of the singing. Good voice training and many, many rehearsals ensure that all Kidz vocal performances are to the highest standard.
Good direction, delivery and natural flair ensure that comedy timing is funny.
Jason Sims and Georgie Carter played the Goose King and Queen while Lewis Wilding was Priscilla, laying the Golden Eggs on whose value so much of the story is predicated.
Cliona Sanders (Jill) and Frankie Worrall (Squire), Tasha Wallace and Melissa Smallwood made up the rest of the named cast. Each member of the company gave a 110 per cent to make every routine, musical or otherwise, brilliant.
Of, course, nothing would work without clever and well-made scenery and props, outstanding costumes and make-up, superb lighting and sound, plus front-of-house and backstage teams who made the whole thing work.
Don't take my word for it, get along to this and other Kidz R Us productions (www.kidzrus.net); not because they're kids but because they're great.