One of my secret pleasures in Portsmouth in the early months of the year is the Phoenix Players pantomime, at the Trinity Theatre on the corner of Frances Avenue.
Over the years I’ve seen Treasure Island with a massive cast replete in grass skirts, Cinderella with an outrageous pantomime dame, and Sleeping Beauty with an evil fairy godmother to die for.
This year, Puss in Boots got the treatment, and it was well worth a visit on a chilly February night out. The Phoenix Players are an amateur community troupe, and everyone at some point gets a chance to shine, in more ways than one. Whether it’s the outrageous bling of the costumes, the sparkle of magic or the UV special effects, the show is a visual delight. The writing is of the deep panto tradition, with a rich seam of 1950s music hall in the mix, along with Pacman and Super Mario Brothers.
What I love about the Phoenix Players is that they have a big, warm heart. They don’t worry too much about getting things a little wrong, and know how to laugh off mistakes when they happen from time to time, and keep the show pootling along nicely.
There’s also something else: the show has its surreal moments. The sudden arrival of Puss at Catland, where an unearthly feline court must decide whether Puss lives or dies was unexpected, and the sudden appearance of a Brummy-accented fairy godmother with a lisp and purple hair added to the fun.
For a good night out, haunted by Donald Trump ghosts, gigantic cuddly spiders and unearthly transformations, this is the place to go.
You’ll have a great night out.
Oh yes you will..!