When I discovered that there was to be a new musical short film produced by comedy dance duo Twist and Pulse (of Britain’s Got Talent) I was very surprised. I was even more surprised to find out that it would be a musical film about building a pantomime during the current covid 19 pandemic. It is clear, however, that these two performers (and the rest of the cast) share a passion for live theatre and wanted this show to fill to hole in people’s hearts that theatre normally films. Every person was passionate about the project and it’s message as well as clearly have a super fun time building this original show. It was not positioned to be an over-the-top Hollywood blockbuster film but instead an accessible and relatable show that will bring some joy into people’s lives during these unprecedented times.
I have talked in my reviews before about how people are missing the pantomime season this year and I have to admit I too am missing the wonderful over-the-top characters, fabulous costumes and joy that these productions bring! On top of that, the theatre industry has been under fire recently with many theatre closing without any hope of reopening once the pandemic has subsided and so there is added pressure on people to support the industry now more than ever. This is absolutely a movie for anyone who is missing the pantomime season as the show contains many of the panto characters everyone knows and loves (including an evil queen, hook, Peter Pan etc) and opens with a clever song performed by the characters that would introduce theme selves to people who are familiar with these pantomime staples. The story follows these characters as they are informed that panto is cancelled and they are encouraged to find real-world jobs. There was a reference to the controversial advertising that was supposed telling performers to ‘re-skill in Cyber’ which helped make the show even more modern and relevant. For pantomime elements, we had everything you would expect! We even managed to have a clever joke about the classic “he’s behind you” audience call that had the buttons style character in tears.
This show had a wonderful star-studded cast that was headlined by Ashton Merrigold (formerly of JLS) who played Peter Pan. It also contained an appearance and performance by Twist and Pulse themselves who delivered an excellently comedic dance as well as rapping which is something I had never seen them do before. The celebrities playing the character managed to perfectly capture not only the character’s mannerisms but extend them to fit in with the world of pantomime throughout which was great to see. There was a scene in which are the characters were learning to dance ready for the big performance and all the rehearsal was done with the actors in character which was incredible and showed real talent!
The film is only about 40 minutes long and due to how entertaining it is, this time moves very quickly. As it is a pantomime is perfect for all ages but would have more of a profound impact on an older audience as they can appreciate the effect of the lockdowns on the theatre community but young people will still enjoy the fantastic dance routines and will love seeing characters they are familiar with. Some of the show is filmed in the actors own homes which were cleverly edited to appear to be on a group call when organising the big performance. Later in the show, the screens are edited to show the support and love from the potential audience in anticipation of the show. It is cleaver the creative minds behind this show had thought carefully about how they can include a high level of performance value to the show which these editing tricks have captured fantastically! As well as showing the support from Twitter, they also showcased some of the more negative messages that specifically Peter Pan received. Again the team have thought carefully about the messages they are portraying to give an honest depiction of cyberbullying and online trolling. This lead to a very powerful scene between Peter Pan and the panto dame where they discuss a deep love of pantomime and the joy it brings to peoples lives which were very emotional to watch.
Overall this was an insanely fun musical short film that will keep you entertaining throughout but also portrays some very important and emotional issues. It captures the essence of panto perfectly and if theatres are close this is the next best thing! I would rate this production as 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who is missing the pantomime season and/or is looking for a show perfect for all ages! You can watch the production for free by following this link (https://youtu.be/fjkhVB7747E) and I would love to know you throughs!