Review: Enthusiastic audience lap up Puss in Boots on Kenilworth stage

Charles Essex reviews Puss in Boots at the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth

Gill Halford (centre) as Puss in Boots with aige Phelps as Princess Melinda and Mary Dunn who plays Principal Boy Colin the mill owner

Written by Stephen Duckham, who has scripted previous Talisman pantomimes, this production was lively and pacey with no chance of boredom for the younger members of the audience as the dialogue, singing and dancing as the narrative was divided into 13 short and engaging scenes.

Simon Moss shows his versatility and pedigree with another professional-standard performance as Queen Kitty, the archetypal pantomime dame. He had wonderful engagement with the audience and when he and King Felix (Robert Jones) when were on stage they were the stars.

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Mary Dunn as Colin, the poor but honest local boy, led much of the singing, either solo or with Paige Phelps, who had a sweet singing voice as Princess Melinda. The multi-age chorus of 18 were coordinated on what was, at times, a crowded stage yet the choreography worked well. The two song and dance routines during which the audience were invited to stand and join in from the stalls were enthusiastically received.

Jack Ives as the ogre’s henchman was suitably villainous in a deadpan, almost Craig Revel Horwood, manner, incurring the enthusiastic opprobrium of the audience. Perhaps it was because the children in the audience had just broken up from school at the end of term, but they loved it and raised the roof with their shouting.

A novel yet clever hair-raising car chase was shown on film as Wheeler (Paul Sully) and Dealer (Laurie Weston), the ogre’s dim rogues, fled with the kidnapped princess in the boot of their car. This was hugely enjoyed by the audience who responded with much laughter.

This feel-good pantomime was just what was needed after what has been a difficult year for many families. There was a really animated audience of all ages who left any troubles at the door.

* Puss in Boots runs until January 1. Visit talismantheatre.co.uk to book.