Les Mis: The Panto!

I love the student panto. It is a time-honoured tradition, always attracting a superlatively talented cast and crew, and this year’s cohort are no exception. But this year’s panto was not quite to my personal taste. I say this, stressing that pantomime is an extremely subjective form and many people in the audience with me loved it. However, I suspect that this may be because many of the audience members were also NUTS members. Despite strong characters and an interesting premise, there were too many in-jokes and obscure references which must have left most audience members scratching their heads. The second half came into its own after a first half in which several jokes fell flat, but could have easily been ten minutes shorter (an accusation often levelled at the musical upon which this play IS NOT based…). However, this is not to take away from moments of brilliance such as Eponine (played in drag by the ever-hilarious Mark Bryan) discovering Javert’s treachery; a genius Game of Thrones reference (‘The Thenardiers send their regards!’) and a witty send-up of ‘Empty chairs at empty tables’. There was not a single actor on that stage who I didn’t applaud wholeheartedly for their individual performance, but Les Mis the Panto never quite managed to be any greater than the sum of its parts, however talented they were.