Swansong for panto great

Familiarity breeds contempt- or so the saying goes but for regulars to Nottingham Playhouse’s annual panto familiarity is the big attraction.

Kenneth Alan Taylor has become a stage legend over his 30 year reign of the playhouse panto.

He has attracted a huge following over the three decades he has flaunted his frills and flounced his skills when it comes to interacting with his audience and this is said to be his swan song.

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After 30 years of writing, directing and starring in the Wellington Circus productions, he is stepping out of his stilletoes and the spotlight after this, his final run.

His career has come full circle as Jack and the Beanstalk was Kenneth’s first pantomime and it will be his last.

He is joined on stage by panto favourites John Elkington, Rebecca Little and Daniel Hoffman-Gill and it is clear to see why this has proved a winning recipe for success.

The group are like a family- slightly dysfunctional- with Kenneth as the matriarch- leading, steering and caring for his cast as much as he cares for the audience and their reaction.

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This year’s offering has all the usual ingredients, great cast, fantastic costumes and sparkly, spangly scenery and sets that shine so bright they should come with an eplipetic warning.

But something was missing and I’m not sure what it was.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great night and my kids sat entranced throughout and exclaimed great delight as the custard pie and water scene erupted. And they thought the water spitting simply hilarious-not sure the front row would share this though!

I just can’t put my finger on it. It was like a fantastic five tier cake that was perfectly executed butjust fell slightly short of tasting as good as it looks.

Or maybe I am just unfairly comparing it to last year’s show which simply had the XFactor.

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The shows will run from now until Saturday 18th January 2014.

There are matinee performances throughout the weeks.

Tickets are priced from £20-£27.50 with family tickets priced at £65.

On Tuesday 14th January at 1.30pm there will be a special relaxed performance for families with children that have an autistic condition, sensory and communication disorder or learning disability.

This year the Playhouse is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Kenneth Alan Taylor is marking his 30 years as panto dame.

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On 11th December at 6.30pm a special gala performance and fundraising evening will take place with an auction of panto lots, a return of actors from previous shows as well as canapes, drinks and surprises in store.

To book your tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk call thebox office on 0115 941 9419 or visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk.

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