Having recently watched Sharp teeth theatre’s online murder mystery production titled “Sherlock in Holmes” (which is honestly one of the best name for a show I have ever heard! And you can my review can be found at https://rhysopayne.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/sherlock-in-holmes-review/?preview=true) the bar was set extremely high for their newest online pantomime called ‘Streaming Beauty.’ Billed as the world first online pantomime exclusively for an over 18 audience, the show promised a wonderfully camp and filthy evening full of drag queens and it did not disappoint! The fear for lots of theatre people at the moment is the possibility that the pantomime season is not going to happen this year but sharp teeth theatre have found a way to bring the show right into people’s homes complete with songs, drag and wonderfully over-the-top characters which is fantastic for both the avid panto fans but also gives the performances a chance to still perform which is great! As I have already said this was an adult only production as so there was a lot of mature language, sexual references and (especially at the beginning of the show) vivid depictions of sexual activities which means this show is ONLY meant for an adult audience.
The show opened with the audience being invited into one big virtual meeting room which was hosted by the fairy godmother Annette Curtains (played by Tom Marshman) who made sure everyone knew what to expect for the evening and that everyone’s devices where set up correctly. There was a lot of improvised banter with certain audience members which does show a very high level of performance ability on Tom’s behalf which was great to watch. After all the setup issues where addressed the show could officially begin. This involved an interruption by the villain of the show Angelina unholy (played by Peter Baker) who again was a very talented performer who stuck to this wonderfully over-the-top character constantly which was amazing! However, the purpose of these interruptions was to introduce characters and to establish the villainous role. After a while, however because of zooms interface these distractions began flicking back and forth a lot which was somewhat distracting after a while. After this dialogue was completed we where split into smaller breakout groups with a small number of strangers to watch each of the characters in the show perform a one-person scene to get to know each of the characters more in-depth and understand there relation to the overall story of the show. My favourite performance through this show was Streaming beauty herself who was played by the incredible Carmen Monoxide (which is another fantastic name!) as they were so wonderfully entertaining and professionally perform as a drag performer in their everyday life! She led the musical dance number is the show which has the viewers coping her sexually driven dance moves supposed inspired by woodland creatures. This character also delivered a hilarious and ridiculously monologue at the end of the show with Brittney spears song titled smoothly embedded into her speech which was amazing for me as a Britney fan. This was not the only reference to Britney Spears as there were also discussions about a controlling contract with is an obvious reference to her conservatorship which helped set the show in the 21st century and make it appear very modern/relevant.
In Sherlock Holmes, the show possessed fantastic attention to detail and a ridiculously high production value despite it again being performed over zoom. This show did consider the production value of the show as all characters had amazing costumes and backgrounds/props that were relevant to their characters and the show as a whole which made the show that much more interesting and made the audience even more engaged. However, I don’t believe it maintained the same production standard laid out by the previous production as at the beginning backdrop clips were visible, the green screen effect was faulty at times (as clothes, props and makeup were identified as a supposed backdrop and so the background was projectors into the incorrect places at times) and certain performers streams were somewhat laggy which was distracting at times. Like your traditional pantomime, the show contained a happy ending which was a wonderfully camp performance (or streaming beauty’s comeback performance as described within the show) which had the audience dancing too, which every person did which was great! It did feel like being back in the pantomime halls which was an incredible inclusion in my opinion. However, at the end of the show, it did get somewhat difficult to follow and very over-the-top when the Simon Cowel inspired character was attacked by Ant and Dec who were cardboard cutouts animated by the performer.
Overall, streaming beauty was a wonderfully camp and fun pantomime experience that managed to capture the essence of panto which was great. The show was hilarious through and the show wanted to make it as modern as possible which was done perfectly. I do think that my perspective in the show is somewhat skewed due to having seen the stellar performance of ‘Sherlock in Homes’ and it’s quality but it was still a very enjoyable zoom call! I would recommend this show to anyone who misses the pantomime season and would rate this production 3 and a half stars!