Also known as Dick and Dom do Croydon!
A rare outing for all five of us together, but such was the pull of Dick and Dom in da house that we jumped on a 468 in unison, and off we went to Ashcroft Theatre at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, to watch Beauty and the Beast panto.
In our defence, we were given the tickets practically for free, interval ice-cream included, a couple of months ago, and it sounded like a lovely idea for a cosy family pre-Christmas day out at the time.
What can I say. I have seen better pantos. In fact, I am not sure if I ever saw a worse one, but perhaps I was expecting too much. It was never going to be Dawn French at the Palladium, it was always going to be Dick and Dom in Croydon. Dick himself acted as if he’d rather be anywhere else than Croydon. I am not a fan of the place, but when the Croydon jokes kept coming, even I thought they were laying it on a bit thick. Some people have no choice but to live there.
Dom was putting much more of an effort into his moves, he didn’t seem to mind making a fool of himself in Croydon. I mean, he was being paid to do so after all. They did the bogies routine, several times, and we even ended up singing ‘My bogies lie over the ocean, my bogies lie over the sea’. Yes, really.
The whole thing quickly turned into a Dick and Dom show. The Belle and the beast story persevered nevertheless, bland and irrelevant as it was. Gaston was weirdly renamed Benedict. I felt sorry for him a couple of times, as the audience made a big show of disliking him, and the booing went on awkwardly long each time he made an appearance. I was willing the actor to call it a day and walk out, because that might have made the show actually exciting, and worth talking about, but he remained politely bemused by the rudeness piled up on his character and waited patiently for the booing to subside.
This panto was clearly pitched at young audience, which was probably why I wasn’t loving it as much as I was hoping to, especially after being starved of theatre performances for the last 18 months.
The jokes were bad, but not so bad as to become good. You know the comedy is thin on the ground when a ‘madeira cake’ joke scores the biggest laughs.
To finish off our Croydon Christmas extravaganza, we went to a recently opened Wendy’s for a McDonald’s experience by a different name. My husband got a bit nostalgic there, as he had some fond memories of Wendy’s from his time in the US, many moons ago, so it wasn’t all bad.