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Posts Tagged ‘Cleo Pettitt’

There’s a new guard at the Hackney panto this year, with writer / director Susie McKenna and designer Lotte Collett moving on. This did make me nervous because I’d developed so much respect for, and trust in, this team, but its good to report an important annual tradition survives intact, with regulars Clive Rowe and Tony Whittle stepping up to direct and Will Brenton and Cleo Pettitt coming in to write and design respectively.

Clive Rowe commands the stage as Dame Tilly Trott, her costumes as brilliant as ever, especially her arrival bag-for-life collection. Her ‘victim’ the night we went was a personal trainer from Angel who was made to announce his love for her loudly whenever she came on. Tony Whittle’s Councillor Higginbottom is her love interest, as is his daughter Jill for Tilly’s son Jack, with a great Freddie Mercury running gag. Kat B’s charming Simple Simon gets us to greet his every entrance. The three of them create a sublime ‘custard pie’ routine to the Twelve Days of Christmas, which was a highlight. We also have Daisy the cow and a 15 ft giant, with the bonus this year of a group of tap dancing cockroaches. Now, that must be a panto first!

The Hackney panto has always been a very traditional one, and its all here down to the ‘behind you’s’ and the song-sheet, but that’s why I love it. The production values are second to none. The quality of singing is exceptional, and Mark Dickman’s 5-piece band provide great accompaniment.

We didn’t miss a panto in 2020 as we didn’t make the 2019-20 one until Jan 2020, but 23 months was a long time to wait for our dose of live community fun. Our cups runneth over. Welcome back, old friend.

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