A few months ago I was contacted on Instagram about an upcoming production of Eunice the Musical that was going to be performed in Stanley Halls on London. However, due to the current covid guidelines was moved to an online production which I have to admit I was somewhat sceptical about, I was initially confused as to how they will capture the essence of a musical pantomime through the lens of a zoom call. Following the initial contact, I interviewed with Robert Pearce (who created mama G and the story of Eunice the musical) which can be found at https://youtu.be/X6Yh097G8PM where we discuss the idea of the show and how they were going to adapt to the show to adhere to the rules at the time. If you haven’t already listened to the interview, then I recommend you do as it tells you what to expect from this brand new musical.
I know for many that pantomimes are the highlight of the year and truly help to get the Christmas festivities started and so when the panto season was cancelled across the Uk it was devastating. Before you even entered the virtual performance space, you were put into a waiting room where the shows logo was shown and Christmas music was played. This was just like entering a theatre ready for a performance which was a very clever inclusion that personally filled me with feelings of nostalgia for theatre which was a great way to start. It was truly like having a pantomime performance in your house and I imagine the production value is the same as seizing it live. This show is your classic cheesy, over-the-top community theatre pantomime complete with audience interaction. Despite the audience interaction not working as effectively as it would have during a live production, it was still very important of aspect of the show which was fantastic as they tried to make it as similar to live theatre as possible. The show was an empowering message of individuality and being yourself told through the perspective of a talking magical horse and an assortment of wonderful farmland animals. This makes the show accessible to all ages and the jokes and exaggerated performances help it perfect for young children who are looking for something to do. The show ended with a fantastic interactive dance routine which had the audience getting involved which for me was so wonderfully panto-esque!
The cast of this show was very small with only three performers throughout the majority of the show. Bunmi Gabriel (The Magic of Mowtown) who played the titular role of Eunice within this musical was a very talented performer who sang the songs incredibly. The highlight for me was her rendition of “Touch the Sky” which was an incredibly moving and emotional song about wanting to improve her life. You can listen to a version of this song here to help you appreciate how fantastic it truly was! (https://youtu.be/uYzkUlsnVtY) The ‘supporting’ performers in this show Jack Benjamin (Baddies, Kiss Me Kate) Katie Pritchard (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Harry Hill’s Clubnight) were also incredibly talented. I will always be impressed by performers who can switch from acting to playing an instrument on stage as that takes a lot of skill which I know o would not be able to do. Additionally, the supporting performers rotate around a collection of different characters who were all distinctively different. Despite the costumes being somewhat disappointing, it was clear when performers were raking on different roles and made a clear difference between say the rich pigs to the mindful sheep which was again a showcase of incredible talent.
Like I have said the show is perfect for a family outing as there are so many levels to the story that makes it accessible to all ages. Children will see this as a horse who feels different trying to find a place of acceptance and will enjoy the repetitive fart based jokes from the cows, whereas parents will see it as a story of self-acceptance and not hiding people of how they look on the outside. It is a very fun show that kept all the children in the virtual audience very entertained with every person getting involved with the dance routine at the end of the show. What I did not expect was how emotional o found the end of the story. I am of course not going to give any spoilers but the end of the story was very powerful and had me extremely close to tears. I imagine all the enjoys of the show are only exaggerated in a live performance and I am very gutted that I am not able to see the pantomime live but the creative team behind this project worked very hard to capture the essence of live pantomime through the clever use of camera angles in the show.
Overall, Eunice, a new musical is a fantastic family-friendly pantomime that promotes some very important issues such as self-acceptance and self-love. All performers showed fantastic levels of talent and theatre-based skills which wowed me. I would rate this product 4 out of 5 stars!