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Repeating the sell-out success of pantos of Christmas past at Above the Stag, this year’s seasonal spectacular, Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper’s Treasure Island – The Curse of the Pearl Necklace, sees an all-singing, all-dancing troupe romping their way through a tale of jinxed jewels and nautical naughtiness with no end of seamen jokes along the way.

Set in the Cornish seaside hamlet of Michael Cove, the plot finds Sally Hawkins, drag-harridan landlady of The Bumboy Inn and her son Jim, in dire financial straits – so much so that they are forced to give their loyal lesbian cook, Marina, the boot. Recruited by buggering buccaneer, Long John Silver, complete with a hook in the most unconventional of places, Marina finds herself torn between good (yay!) and evil (boo!) as the crazy characters set sail in search of Captain Cunt’s lost treasure trove with danger and double entendres lurking behind every sand dune.

The swashbuckling shenanigans take in filthy sing-along musical numbers and plenty of oddball characters, including bumbling Bumboy Inn regular, The Captain, and his bitchy aspiring actress daughter, Josephine, played with a dazzling Ab Fab flourish by Ellen Butler.  There’s also Jim’s svelte and slippery love interest, Daryl, Crown Prince of Atlantis – an underwater Essex bimbo with more costume changes than a Kylie show at the O2. X-rated LGBT panto capers ensue as the titular pearls wreak havoc, Jim chases Daryl across land and sea and the cast do whatever it takes to get their hands on the booty.

Andrew Beckett’s production keeps the action, and the gags, coming thick and fast, with stand out turns from Alex Wood as the nasty but oh-so-dashing Long John Silver, Philip Lawrence sissying that walk across the stage as Sally Hawkins and Hugh O’Donnell in the guise of beguilingly downbeat Aussie Merman Ethel. Credit must also go to set designer, David Shields, for devising an impressive and versatile set within the confines of a relatively small theatre space. Coupled with enthusiastic performances all round, this production certainly lives up to Above The Stag’s reputation for top class entertainment. Tickets are selling fast – get yours now if you want to dive in for this aquatic adventure.

 

• Above the Stag Theatre, Arch 17, Miles Street, Vauxhall, SW8 1RZ. Runs to 10th January, Tues–Sat, 7.30pm. Sun, 6pm.

Tickets: £18, abovethestag.com 

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