Puss in Boots

Belgrade Theatre


The Belgrade Theatre’s Pantomime is deservedly popular and a hoot from start to finish and played to packed houses since the end of November with audiences ranging from two to 98 at least!

Writer and director Iain Lauchlan as Matilda Pudding is a brilliant dame, with usual side-kick, literally, in Craig Hollingsworth as son Simon Pudding improvising happily throughout.

Crusty Pudding, miller and husband to Matilda and father to Simon has just died and there is trouble over the will. The mill is claimed by the local ogre and his henchman and neighbourhood Rachman, Victor Grabbit (Peter Watts) who plan to make the Puddings homeless and AirBnB the mill for a thumping profit.

King Colin of Mysopia (David Gilbrook) has plans for Matilda and Simon to stay put. Fairy Flutterby (Aimee Bevan – in the craziest pair of silver shoes) gets involved with an ambitious plan to make Simon a Duke to marry the King’s daughter Princess Sophia (Miriam Grace Edwards). So, what can possibly go wrong?

Matilda and Simon have officially inherited a lethargic cat called Chubbs, and Alopecia the donkey as well as the mill. In Fairy Flutterby’s hands, Chubbs (Joanna Thorne) becomes motivated to do the Fairy’s bidding and introduces Simon to the Princess as the Duke of Carabas with some cunning sleight of paw, a pair of boots and a fairly impressive hat.

Impressive, too, is the set, and the shape-shifting ogre (Daniel Teague). I had to be told about the animals but eventually worked out where they were. Maybe a spotlight might have helped me?

I loved the hilarious action song ‘If I weren’t in Pantomime’ which I remember from last year and was delighted to see again…I even looked for it on YouTube! A lady in the front row was literally helpless. I would look for rehearsals on YouTube too; I bet there were some black eyes and bruises!

I also loved the scene with Victor Grabbit, Simon and the Princess singing ‘With a little help from my friends’. I always enjoy the children’s dancing and the children gathered from the audience at the end.

Next year’s, which I’m already looking forward to, is Beauty and the Beast and, as Iain Lauchlan announced it, some wag at the front asked which part he would be playing. With fluttering eye lashes, he answered, ‘Beauty obviously!’

Jane Howard


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