Just when you thought ‘Panto season’ was over, up pops one more from the woodwork… but trust me folks this Panto is like no other! (oh no it isn’t…oh yes it is!)‘Robbie Williams best mate’ Jonny Wilkes and ‘Peter Kay’s other half’ Paddy McGuinness return to the Opera House for a 3 night run, with their adults only show Pantos on Strike.
Full of smutty jokes, innuendo and lots of expletives, this isn’t a Panto for the easily offended but if you leave your political correctness at stage door then, just like the audience last night, you will be laughing along from start to finish.
The tone is set for what to expect before the curtain even rises, with the PA system blasting out Butlins style party tunes like the ‘Birdy Song’ and front of house staff going round with a mobile bar selling chilled wine and beer (you don’t get that when you go see Les Mis!)
McGuinness gets the majority of the gags in the show, delighting in lines such as ‘You think this is seedy…you’ve not been to Bolton’. He and Wilkes make a good pairing and seem to revel in the constant toilet humour and laddish banter.
There’s not many Pantos you go to see where the Genie of the Lamp moonlights as a ‘Call Girl’ and one of the Seven Dwarfs is a cross dressing stripper, but this is Pantoland in crisis!
Evil King Foo, played by Brian Capron (aka Corrie’s Richard Hillman) has kidnapped Princess Crystal so all of the Panto characters have gone on strike. Step forward Panto hero Wilkes and his less than enthusiastic side-kick McGuinness to rescue the situation. The odds are stacked against them but with the help of Snow White, ‘Big Dick’ Whittington, and a potty-mouthed Fairygodmother played by Zoe Tyler (with lines that would make even her Loose Women colleagues blush), they’ll try their best.
Verdict: If McGuinness were to ask the audience ‘no likey no lighty?’ I reckon the audience would definitely keep their lights on for this show and the cast would make it to the ‘Island of Fernando!’
Pantos on Strike
Opera House, Manchester
Thurs 12 to Sat 14 Jan 2012
Booking line: 0844 871 3018