Culture Theatre

Wonderland: the new Act One Panto takes Pulse | Theatre Review


Words by Andrea Gaini

Every year, Christmas only starts to feel real after the usual Act One Panto in Pulse has taken place. So, here I am now, realising that it’s finally this time of the year again.

Pantos are never really about Christmas, but more of a nice salty piece of banter to escape the sickly sweetness of mulled wine and candy canes. As we stepped into the beautiful fairytale world of Pulse, a feeling of relief runs through our bodies as the magical world of Wonderland started to form in front of our eyes.

Written and directed by Kimberly Taylor and Sally Mogridge this year’s pantomime takes an interesting twist following the life of a bunch of Freshers in the Wonderland that is Cardiff. The concept of the story shines throughout the first act and builds up to something new that I had never seen in a Panto before. A pinch of Freshers nostalgia and whole lot of sassiness makes the first act of Wonderland catchy and clever running smoothly to the interval.

When it comes to the second half, however, the production loses a bit of strength and, unfortunately, failed to amaze me. As Jokes and puns become more and more society-related a feeling of disorientation arouses in the audience. The structure of the Panto does not hold together the story, which, in my opinion, falls short of the expectations created in the first act.

Nevertheless, the minimalist pack of costumes and setting makes the acting, and the amazing effort put in by the cast and crew, stand out even more pulling off a good performance worth the ticket. Special mention must also be given to the wonderful duo, Owen Strawbridge and Ella Moody, for the excellent characterisation and affinity shown throughout the whole show.