A three-hour wacky epic of dad joke groans, bizarre anachronistic cross-overs and classic pantomime hilarity; this Herculean display brought some colour to a cold January evening.
The story is about the journey of Hercules to impress a Jason of the Argonauts cross Lord Flashheart figure, before finally realising who his real friends are and uniting Greece in a ‘happy ever after’ song. A seemingly timeless tale, but add in cameos from J.K. Rowling, Danny Zuko and the God of Freshers flu and you have a jumble sale of obscure, but deeply entertaining scenarios.
You need only to look at the programme to see how much fun the cast clearly had making this production. With 44 actors, it would be easy for people to be left out, yet everyone had their own bright, unique costume in a plethora of individual and expressive roles. PantSoc’s inclusivity really shone through and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had an influx of new members after hearing comments from the audience at the interval.
Writers Shevek Fodor and Sophie Monks have moulded a (mostly) coherent narrative to encompass the variety of human and mythical characters and peppered it with references varying from the classic York geese jibes to niche philosophical concepts. Particular poignant was the full musical number dedicated to ‘unpaid interns’ and the ‘life experience’ they can gain. Even when lines were fluffed, ad-libs and improvisation only complimented the general sense of chaos. Needless to say, if polished high theatre is what you fancy, this show isn’t for you, but if you were happy to let loose and have an old-fashioned giggle then Hercules The Pantomime was the place.
Having said this, there were still some commendable acting performances. With such an extensive cast, it’s hard to pick out individuals, but credit should be given to the outrageous dame Helen of Troy (Andreas Heller) and the chillingly evil
Agamemnon (Rhiannon Millard), especially commendable as they are both first years. The on-stage dynamics of Hercules (Bianca Darolti), Bryan the Minotaur (Alice Rush) and Jason (Sky Blaxhall) held the show together and the powerful singing voices from all three brought energy to the stage.
The atmosphere on the final night, which I was lucky enough to attend, was buzzing with supportive energy. From parents and fellow students to the PantSoc alumni, everyone left with smiles etched on their faces.
Was the show a triumph? Oh yes it was!