Jack Be Nimble Ltd and Everyman Cinema (venue)
04 December 2020 (released)
02 December 2020
With so many Pantomimes having to be cancelled this year it is a welcome relief to see that audiences in their homes and 55 cinemas up and down the country, will have the opportunity for their festive fix. It was filmed during the Summer in two gardens in South West London and St Michael’s Church, Southfields, and has been specially conceived to work within these locations. All the essential Pantomime scenes and set pieces are cleverly interwoven among the different horticultural areas. Full-on fun is what this production has in garden shed loads.
Peter Duncan and Ian Talbot as writers and directors have created a world where the family of a young child, through her imagination, become the characters in her picture book. This allows them to inhabit her real-life environment whilst becoming the larger than life Pantomime Characters. The mix of real with the artificial works beautifully in most cases. It is also very topical and sprinkled with Covid references, as you would expect this year, but it’s main message about the environment and green issues comes to the fore. This fits perfectly with current ecological campaigning and the concept of a ‘Garden Pantomime’
There are some strong performances from Nicola Blackman and Jos Vantyler as the Garden Fairy and Fleshcreepy who revel in their characters, and use the camera well to encourage the crucial viewing audience participation. Sam Ebenezer and Sarah Moss are delightful as Jack and Jill with good singing voices, but the songs lacked enough variety to show them off fully. Ian Talbot had just the right amount of bumbling and stature as Squire Shortshanks and made a perfect ‘patsy’ for messy antics in the garden kitchen scene. With Peter Duncan at the helm, Dame Trott was everything a Dame should be, with the most costume changes I have ever seen in one Pantomime, no wonder they’re poor. He also showed boundless energy and a touch of ‘Duncan Dares’ with his aerial work.
It is so heartening to know we have this production this year, and that it’s to be distributed nationwide. However, in filming this entirely during the daytime it does miss those dark moments were the lighting can play its part. Also, being in such a natural environment some of the pantomime magic is missing. But, it makes up for this with creative filmic moments that couldn’t happen on stage.
It’s destined to get big screams from the big screens (and the little ones) this festive season .
Released December 4th at Everyman Cinemas, December 11th at Showcase Cinemas and on-line from December 4th.