Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
30th November 2000 - 13th January 2001
Well I haven't been to a panto since I was a kid but the thought of seeing Joanna live for the first time ever was too good to resist and with only a 40 minute drive away from where I live. Anyway, I'm really glad I went now, not just because of Joanna but because it was a good panto.
Tucked away in the Northern suburbs of Southampton, almost in the grounds of the University is the Nuffield Theatre. Which prompts me with a quick question why are so many theatres called the Nuffield? I mean when I saw Rebecca Callard last month in Leicester that was at a theatre called the Nuffield.
The Nuffield in Southampton looks very modern with a good auditorium. The panto wasn't all about having the audience shouting 'behind you' and other stuff normally shouted by panto audiences. In fact the whole of the first half didn't have any of this at all. So maybe this is more for the slightly older children. However normal panto rules were observed in the second half, when you could shout and screen. However I did feel that people were a little bit nervous of this at first due to lack of it in the first half. The group of boys sat next to me were told, during the interval, to keep the noise down whilst the panto was on by their teacher!
Very good all round acting the highlight of which was Granville Saxton as Ben Gunn who, as the 'dad' next to me commented, looked like the guy from the opening credits of the Monty Python programmes. You know long beard as though he had been on a dessert Island for years. Seeing Granville after the show you I found it hard to believe it was the same person who acted the 'nut' on the stage moments earlier.
The night I saw the show I believe Adam Rood played Jim Hawkins and a very good job he did. Remember that name I'm sure he'll be a big star in the future. With the talent he's got he should become one.
As for Joanna. She looks a lot better in real life than on TV. The photo of her from the Westway site that I have on my page doesn't do her credit at all. But the real revelation for me was that she can sing and sing well. I wonder if I could ever persuade her to sing in my band if we ever do another gig, perhaps not. Anyway one thing that I thought was obvious about her performance is that she seemed to be really enjoying doing what she was doing. I guess it must be great to do such a fun show. Seeing all the little kids (and us big kids as well!!) having fun.
Normally I won't try to see any of the actresses in on my site, for reasons explained on the first page, but as I was told that she might be in the bar after the show. So I thought I'd make a big exemption in this case and ask for an autograph. I did meet her, which was wonderful. Very pleasant personality. 'So you're the phantom web person' she exclaimed when I told her that I was the guy that does this site. We had a little chat. I couldn't believe that I was talking to her. When I first did this web page is was more a request for information on her as I hadn't seen her since the days she did 'That's Life!'. Over the years I've received more and more info on her, mainly thanks to Elizabeth Buy. So to find out that she's still alive, still acting and dare I say it, still looking as good as ever is just great. But to be stood there talking to her is something else, wonderful.