Review of 'Pantoland at the Palladium'


Having been forced to cancel last year's pantomime due to the pandemic the London Palladium return in 2021 with “Pantoland” which is a salute to pantomime rather than making any sort of attempt at telling a story as you might normally expect. The simply dressed stage is surrounded by posters of previous Palladium pantomimes featuring the great and the good of the entertainment business over the many years it has been staged. This year the cast is headlined by the fantastic Donny Osmond who provides his wonderful voice frequently throughout the show including a wonderful medley of some of his famous hits in the second half of the show. His charm very quickly wins over the enthusiastic audience which largely seemed to have been populated by Osmond fans. Julian Clary returns as the master of ceremonies with his incredible wit and absolutely filthy, though funny, mouth. Returning to the stage to introduce each act Clary sports a different outlandish outfit each time, as you might expect. There is a thread running through the show of Clary wanting to “finally” meet with Osmond for a duet…though you will have to go to see if it ever happens!

As for the shows acts many of them return from previous year's pantomimes at the Palladium including the ever amusing hapless act of Nigel Havers, the incredible ventriloquism of Paul Zerdin (and Sam the puppet), and Gary Wilmot as the dame. The familiar performers are joined by singers Sophie Isaacs and Jac Yarrow, chorus line dancers The Tiller Girls (whose group predates the Rockettes) and former Cirque du Soleil fire-dancers “Spark Fire Dance” (Dave Knox and Grace billings) who only grace the stage once in the first half of the show. With a cast this good they are obviously having fun and take the opportunity to rib each other as much as possible, causing many points where they simply “corpse” to much appreciation from the audience. In our performance Osmond accidentally shut off a remote controlled puppet and had to go towards the wings to ask how to turn it back on…

With the quality of the cast as you might expect the show is absolutely amazing with top notch staging and songs. Some of the pieces are the same as in previous years but they are still really well executed, looking and sounding great. Amusement is the name of the game here and in this respect “Pantoland” absolutely excels with just the right mix of good natured humour and more serious acts. I am not sure how suitable it would be for younger children but they would certainly appreciate the spectacle and not get bored with the face pace of the performance. It is not really a terribly interactive performance though the performers do pick on members of the audience in the first few rows. The size of the venue makes anything more practically impossible in any event, so no candies thrown into the audience, no baddie (well, in this year's performance), no “he's behind you” bits shouted onto the stage…

A lot of fun and a great Christmas tradition at the home of the best pantomime in the world.

The show runs for about 3 hours (depending on what happens in the performance!) and has a single interval. Tickets are quite expensive but there are discounts available such as in the New Year Sale from “Official London Theatre”. The programme is £7 but has a lot in it including activities for children and several good articles.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2021-12-08

London Palladium

Location: London (England)

Address: Argyll Street, London England, W1F 7TF

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 412 4655


The grand old daddy of London theatres, the Palladium has a long and illustrious history of Vaudeville, pantomime, the Royal Variety Performance show (held yearly as a “command performance” for the royal family), “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” live television show as well as big modern musicals including the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Access to the theatre is simple as it is immediately adjacent to Oxford Circus and on a quiet side street that is (normally) vehicle free. The interior of the theatre is magnificent in a classical way having been recently restored.