Upcastle, Downcastle - Review
Hmph. Adult pantomime is hard to achieve. Pantomimes are already a little bit bawdy, a little bit cringey and, traditionally, are not at all afraid to play on stereotypes. Making that more 'adult' often means that the raunchy jokes are a little more explicit and sometimes characters swear. Does that automatically make them funnier?
Upcastle, Downcastle sits a little in between a traditional pantomime and a more adult version. All the normal panto characters are visible in their take on an Arthurian legend, as well as one whose only job is to be a mechanism for a whole scene of dick jokes.
There are definitely some moments that I laughed out loud at and some ideas and characterisation that I really liked. The casting of a sock puppet in a sidekick role led to some very amusing moments and a bearded Morgana Le Fay was an admirable pantomime villain.
However, pantomime relies on atmosphere, and there was not a huge amount of that in the theatre. Of course this might have been due to a small audience size, something that cannot always be helped. I am sure that this would have gone down better in a different space, at the top of a bar where everyone was nursing a drink, as opposed to a small black box space in the conference room of a hotel. Nonetheless, an hour beforehand in roughly that same space I had witnessed another self-referential comedy that bubbled with energy and wit, filling the space in a way that Upcastle, Downcastle did not achieve. The energy was sometimes very low and there were a few places where the dialogue could easily have been cut down to make it snappier.
I have to admit that this is not my type of theatre, and this performance did nothing to change that for me. However, there will definitely be an audience out there that will enjoy it more. If they can find enough of these people coming to the theatre on the same night, then I am sure the energy will increase and they will rise to the occasion (...dick joke?).
As such, this is my first blue footed booby. It was a good try, but it did not really fit for me. O, and I'm afraid that we have definitely heard a lot of the innuendo before, so I am throwing in an archaeopteryx for good measure.