Darlington's pantomime has a something of a dance theme this year, but it is more than that. The people of Darlington don't have to travel to another town to see a fabulous pantomime this year. Rather the opposite, as Darlo shows the rest how it's done. This isn't a glamorous panto in which the audience are just bystanders. This is one in which they're fully involved. And tonight they loved it...and so did we.
I know, regular readers, I know. That's 6 out of 6 this season but 2019 is turning into one of the best for the quality of panto in our region. Don't worry, if a turkey comes up, we'll call it out.
Don't get me wrong, regular readers will know I don't watch much TV and have never seen Strictly Come Dancing for a full episode. But I get that it is popular and it has made dancing popular. The audience loved the references to the show and that's good. Strictly judge Shirley Ballas appears as Mother Nature and she gets a number of opportunities to show her moves.
Tongue twisters were definitely a feature and comic Phil Walker worked the crowd well. It should be said the script was also family friendly and kept intentional rude jokes limited to a reference to Jack's large chopper when the Beanstalk met its demise. Iain Stuart Robertson’s Dame Trott was also the source of many laughs and costume changes.
Jack (George Sampson) and Princess Apricot (Lauren Hall) seemed a likeable couple (not always the case in pantoland!). Jack was pretty impressive when busting out his dance moves too.
And we had a Fleshcreep that the audience needed little reminding to boo at. Experienced Daniel Taylor understands the role and he was able to illicit the correct responses from the willing Darlington audience – for they too have their part to play in making panto work.
Photos: Chris Booth