… a Christmas institution …
A trip to the pantomime in Chippy is a Christmas institution and our visit to Robinson Crusoe and the Pirate Queen was a sheer delight. As always, the volunteer staff are so welcoming and the little Victorian style theatre so delightful, it’s a treat to sit back and watch the nonsense dance across the small stage with superb comic timing, great visual gags, and with an excellent cast really enjoying themselves. (Possibly too much as it’s the end of the season …)
The Theatre at Chipping Norton has been staging pantomimes for the past 40 years and really does know how to involve the audience not just with “It’s behind you!”, thrown sweets and singing competitions, but also with a magical, funny scene played out with puppets above the audience’s heads, a small troupe of young actors and some outstanding sets. As far as I know The Theatre has never employed celebrities to sell the tickets nor do they work pop songs into their scripts, preferring to create outstanding pantomime that has no need of ephemeral support.
It was a particularly strong cast this season with the superb Andrew Pepper back for his second year as the dame, Mrs Camilla Crusoe. Her outrageous dresses, designed by Emily Stuart, could have taken a curtain call all by themselves.
The Theatre‘s delightful home began life as a Salvation Army Citadel and its designers and engineers were those behind many Victorian Music Halls, so it was perfectly proportioned for its new life as a theatre. It was discovered by two RSC actors, Tamara and John Malcolm in 1968 and after much fund raising, The Theatre was opened in 1975. If you haven’t been, you should. For further details of The Theatre and their upcoming season, please click here.
And for video clips of the dazzling Andrew Pepper, click here for his website.