REVIEWS

DESTINY - Sci-fi panto review

By NORTH WEST END 

Published on December 6th 2021

 

The year is 2034 and we start this panto with Time (Leanne Cooney) bringing us up to speed on the quantum X 5000 experiment which saw a group of elite scientists led by Dr Destiny Sinclair (Holly Murphy) and Fate Lewis (Victoria Leopold) looking to develop this top-secret time travel project further.

But things don’t always go according to plan and Destiny soon finds herself in the past suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that is not her own. With only Fate, in the form of a hologram, and an App (Jess Connor) to guide her, Destiny finds herself leaping through time righting wrongs before landing up in 1706 where she is paired up with Jack (Shaun Herr) of beanstalk fame and his entourage of a family: Dame Velma, Dougal (Johnny Sedgwick-Davies) and Ella (Elisha Curry).

However, being a pantomime, we need some baddies and it’s only a matter of time before quirky scientist Skye McFly (Demi Leigh Wilson) appears with her invention, Fleshcreep (Leo Hewitson). They both work for the evil Dr Reigns (Anna Chan) as do a couple of ‘giants’, Horace (John Ball) and Morris (Louis Cashin-Harris).

So, with a quick shake of the beans and an ensemble support (Alexandra Rochford; Eve Maher; Erin Ackerley; Abi Lunn; Eve Blackwood; and cast), the real question is whether Destiny will find her way back to her own future?

Panto is a unique theatrical experience making this a brave first step for City Theatre and writer/director Barry Levy, but it was a leap that well and truly paid off from the start with the recognisable themes we’ve all come to know and love successfully interweaved around this modern re-telling of a classic fairy tale. With strong audience interaction throughout, we were delivered a treat of singing, acting, and dancing with some superb choreography from Erin Ackerley.

Everyone performed strongly with clever use of Murphy and Wilson as the more accomplished performers to drive things forward. What made this really special was how they both injected their energy and enthusiasm into the cast resulting in several entertaining partnerships coming to the fore: Murphy and Herr served up a budding musical romance, whilst a hyper Wilson and a delightfully deadpan Hewitson were being appropriately evil-ish. Ball and Cashin-Harris have the makings of a good comedy act with their skilful slapstick whilst Sebastian and Sedgwick-Davies delivered some classic panto routines. Leopold and Chan were the perfect opposites of good and bad whilst a serene Cooney calmly kept the peace. Curry demonstrated a bit of everything with a confident performance that bodes well for her future.

Are there things that can be tightened up? Of course there are but who cares: this cast and crew came on a mission to entertain and in that respect this was a resounding success based on the laughter and applause throughout from the audience, and when you can get this reviewer clapping and tapping his feet then you know you’ve nailed it. Oh yeah, and I got to enjoy Murphy singing again too.

What lies at the heart of City Theatre is community and a focus on work that can appeal to anyone and everyone; to produce theatre that will appeal to the very people that reside around the theatrical quarter of Liverpool without perhaps even knowing it; and productions that will encourage them to not only come and watch but to actually get involved. This is real community theatre; it needs no other labels or distractions. Further information is available at https://cityentertainmentgroup.co.uk/

Reviewer: Mark Davoren

Reviewed: 4th December 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

BOW & ARROW The Outlaws of Sherwood

REVIEW By WRITEBASE Reviews, Previews & News for Theatre, WWE Wrestling, Music & more. (writebase.co.uk)

 Anne Heaps June 25, 2021 

 

Show: Bow and Arrow The Outlaws Of Sherwood
Location: The Black-E, Liverpool
Dates: Thursday June 24- Friday June 25 2021
Times: 19.30
Running Time: 120 Mins excluding a 15 min interval
Age Rating: 18+
Director: Barry Levy

Bow and Arrow The Outlaws Of Sherwood

Synopsis

Bow & Arrow: The Outlaws of Sherwood is a brand-new adult comedy musical that will shock and make you laugh in equal measure.

Bow Scar and Arrow Hunter are well known throughout Sherwood, but not for anything good. They are lazy, jobless and more often than not come up with one money-making scheme after another.

The main thorn in the side of Bow and Arrow is the female Sheriff who rules Sherwood with an iron fist…and whip! The Sheriff also leads the Extreme Alliance. A group of baddies which includes Lance ‘Glorious’ Hemsley, Miss Thorn, and Brutal and by hook and by crook they only look after themselves.

Luckily…or unluckily for Bow and Arrow, they have a mentor in the form of Friar Tuck. A monk with a very little discipline and only has eyes for the menfolk of Sherwood. Men are often seen running away from Friar Tuck. Other times he finds himself in many embarrassing situations. Either way, Friar lives life to the full.

As the story develops, we learn that the Sheriff and Lance ‘Glorious; Hemsley have a grand scheme to open a new adult club in the depths of Sherwood. However, concerned about a strange red light appearing in the forest, the iron fist lady enlists Bow and Arrow (who are heavily in debt) to go and find out what the red light is all about.

Suffice to say things quickly turn pear-shaped for our not so brave duo when Arrow is kidnapped by a mysterious figure. With no choice and wanting to find her best friend in the whole wide world…Bow forms a search party to go and search for Arrow.

Analysis

Bow and Arrow was performed at “The Blackie”, a wonderful iconic building in Liverpool. It’s being performed over 2 nights. Its running time was approximately 120 minutes excluding a 15-minute interval. The venue also had a licensed bar and it also has wheelchair access.

Bow & Arrow – The Outlaws Of Sherwood is described as a socially distanced comedy for adults only with strong and risqué language. The stage is set in an intimate setting in the style of the Everyman Theatre.

There were one or two very strong performances from the cast in particular Friar Tuck (Peter Sebastian).  He also engaged with the audience and stole the show. His song “We’re All Going on A Gang Bang” has got to be seen to be believed. Another strong performance came from Bow Scar (Lauren Lilly Wootton); she was brilliant in her role and she could certainly sing! We were also impressed with Gob’s performance and also enjoyed “Ursula” The Witch (Bethany Clarke).

There were popular songs throughout the show such as ‘Love Shack’ and many more. There were four dancers two of which was Holly Michael and Holly Murphy, who were both excellent.  One of the dancers wore a waist cincher throughout. The cast must have worked very hard during lockdown to give such a great show. I found the whole performance very entertaining. It was a very witty script written and directed by Barry Levy.

Summary

If you are easily offended this is not the show for you. If you want a fun night out. Highly recommended.

Notes

Target Audience: 18+
Content: Strong Language
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

 

REVIEW By NORTH WEST END  www.northwestend.co.uk 

I spent this evening in Sherwood Forest or in reality The Black E venue in central Liverpool. It was my first time at the venue and seeing this particular group, City Theatre, Rep Theatre Group.

The promo promises a night of ‘adult comedy that will shock and make you laugh in equal measure’ and that is exactly what we got. Although there is area for improvement where the vocals and dancing are concerned the thing that would have me returning was certainly the comedy element! 

This was the groups rescheduled first show since covid, and I must say it was nice to see some live theatre, finally. They provided text to Seat bar service, it was a shame the audience had to be so spaced out and not many allowed in, but all the seats that had been laid out, were full. The show ran 7.35pm- 8.35 and 8.55- 9.45pm.

On arrival the venue was beautiful, close to the cities China town. The historic architecture as you enter the building is a vast contrast to the modern vibrant interior. A very minimalistic set, raised seating areas, the only visible item on stage – a projector screen. The back wall was black as was a lot of the costuming, and we could’ve done with a few more splashes of colour here and there to avoid the actors blending into the background and adding a touch more of a professional element.

We had a cast of 16, with some very promising young local acting talent. The story tells of Bow Scar, a slutty heroin and her best friend Arrow Hunter. Along the way they bump into some recognisable characters from the Robin Hood story, but most with a little twist from the usual tale.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you in case you do decide to watch, but I will say it was very pantoesque and the comedic script by director Barry Levy, was outstanding. Bow played by the beautiful, Lauren Lilly Wootton was truly brilliant, great comedic timing and the best vocal moment of the evening performing ‘Out here on my own.’ Sound wise the balance of the backing tracks with live voices without the use of microphones just didn’t work, The backing vocals were loud and not being covered by anyone on stage. On a few occasions original tracks were used and actually cut off mid song.

It might be an idea to use music for play on’s and playoff’s throughout to make it more seamless and cover the background noise. The overall volume needed to be louder also, in particular the opening voice over.

A star of the show for me was Peter Sebastian as a very alternative Friar tuck, a true comedian. I’d just like to mention that it was so nice to have some theatre back and you could feel the energy from the audience, everyone was enjoying the escapism and comic relief. So, thank you City Theatre for providing that!

Reviewer: Rebecca Casey

Reviewed: 24th June 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★