Billy the Kid at The Rosemary Branch
Charles Court Opera is, by now, an old hand at putting together side-splitting Christmas pantos – so much so that it’s becoming London tradition to drop by The Rosemary Branch for a fun night of groan-inducing puns and catchy tunes.
This year Charles Court Opera, well known for their disregard for the more familiar panto tales, have put together a “panto western” in the form of Billy the Kid, a hilarious tale wherein the dastardly Micky Mumford attempts to swindle Buckaroo Dan (Joanna Marie Skillett) and his prize goat Billy (Matthew Kellett) out of their ranch and, er, lives. Romance, evil schemes, chortles and shenanigans ensue with all your favourite Americana tropes.
Penned by John Savournin (who also directs, choreographs and makes a cracking dame as Nelly, a saloon owner), the show manages to be both smart and fresh all the while harking back to the classic panto traditions. Aside from a bit of twerking here and there, and Mumford’s painfully obvious company name, the panto sticks to the classics. The songs are brilliantly choreographed and lovingly performed, mostly re-workings of classic pop songs, like Mr Sandman, performed by a bunch of hand-puppet coyotes and a wonderful rendition of Staying Alive by Nelly’s strangely similar looking sister, Raging Hormone.
Though many of the jokes and references may go over some of the younger audience members’ heads, they’re sure to enjoy themselves nonetheless. The cosy boutique theatre at The Rosemary Branch is perfect for this lovingly crafted panto, the intimate environment means the entire audience can feel involved and the sheer amount passion from the cast makes this a Christmas must see.
Billy the Kid is on at The Rosemary Branch Theatre until 10th January 2015, for further information or to book visit here.