Sinbad – the Rock’n’Roll Panto (theatre review) ★★★★★

SINBAD ran from 24/11/16 – 28/01/17 at the NEW WOLSEY THEATRE

Sinbad, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, is a new pantomime written by Peter Rowe that follows the theatre’s much-loved actor-musician style. The impressive cast not only sings, dances and acts but are also all part of the on-stage band throughout the production.
Sinbad is determined to win the love of Princess Pearl, daughter of the Caliph of Constantinople, and takes on his most dangerous voyage yet on his boat, the Saucy Sausage – traveling past the island of the Sirens and the Plughole of Poseidon to the paradise of Nirvana. Not only that, but he must save Princess Pearl from the clutches of the evil sorcerer Sinistro.

Sinbad is a production full of immense energy and fun – it has the expected slapstick comedy and innuendo of your average pantomime, paired with fantastic rock classics such as “The Boys are Back in Town”, “The Power of Love”, “I Want To Break Free”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Smoke on the Water”, all executed with exemplary musicianship and above all, humour. No wonder – the cast is impressive. Steve Rushton, the lead, not only starred in the West End production of the Green Day musical American Idiot, where he won the Broadway World Award for Best Featured Actor in a New Musical, but was also a member of the popular Noughties pop punk band Son of a Dork and has written award-winning soundtracks for several Disney franchises. Much of the rest of the cast are regulars at the New Wolsey, and in many respects, I found their talents more impressive than Rushton’s. Particular mention must be given to Graham Kent, who has deservedly returned by popular demand for a second year as the Dame.

I thoroughly enjoyed this production and not only that, one got the impression that the cast were enjoying it just as much. I found the story line refreshing – the traditional romantic focus is not only on the plight of Sinbad and Princess Pearl, but also the Dame and Tinbad the Tailor, amongst others, and many of the characters are of equal importance to the plot as the leading couple. The technicolour set, subtly inspired by Byzantine architecture, gave a psychedelic and almost 1970s vibe to the production. This, combined with the glamourous and glittery costumes, made it a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. The script was incredibly silly and engaging – I had so much fun that frankly, I never wanted it to end. If you have the chance to see this show before the end of its run, I thoroughly recommend it – and if not, look out for the next rock’n’roll panto. You will not regret it!


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