It’s that time of year, another twelve months nearly over, Christmas coming soon. A time for Pantomime and office parties and what better way to celebrate than a lively Karaoke night at the local pub with your mates. And that is what is being served up in the Vaults at Waterloo.

It’s the ‘Bridge Inn’ and Dave, the pub landlord has recently died half way through his Karaoke rendition of “My Way” leaving the pub in the hands of Judy Garland who wants to turn the local into a gastro pub and her two outrageous daughters Simone and Garfunkel. Dave’s daughter, Cinderella, is bullied by her step mum and sisters and wants to honour her father’s memory and marry for love. She loves her work behind the bar and with the help of the Karaoke MC Mike and her dog, Buttons, she wants to serve her Dad’s old customers. Even the arrival of the gorgeous Prince Charming can’t tempt her away.

The whole story is told through Karaoke songs in front of a real bar, where if you are brave enough you can get served as the shows continues. The brilliant opening is a clever parody of “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the cast of seven setting out the story before we are serenaded with the Karaoke versions of a host of familiar songs including Slade’s “Merry Christmas everybody”, Destiny child’s “Can you handle this”, ABBA’s “Voulez Vous”, Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” and the classic “Jingle Bell Rock”. Also included are all our favourite pantomime elements including calling out ‘oh yes it is’, a slosh scene and slipper fitting.

Buttons, the suicidal dog who talks to the audience is played by Patrick Knowles, complete with fur suit, black nose and a false leg in his paw. Cinders is played by Rosa Coduri, a woman who knows her own mind and rebels against her step mother. The twins, Simone played by Louise Haggerty (born second and Scottish) and Garfunkel played by Megan Pemberton (first out and the tallest) engage the audience throughout. Lizzie Hopley (who I last saw as Maggie Thatcher in the Audience at NST Southampton ) is Judy, the predatory mother teaching her daughters to be sensual with “Fever”.

Jimmy Fairhurst as well as directing plays the MC Mike (in drag), urging everyone to sign up for karaoke after the show and Jack Cordon is the not so charming Prince (named after the singer).

It is ninety minutes of Immersive festive mayhem with plenty of audience participation and an ideal event for a Christmas Office party night or celebration with friends. It is mad, lively fun – an evening where the plot is secondary to just everyone having a good time and would be all the better for a few beers before it starts! If you are looking for a theatrical night out or a traditional Pantomime then you should look elsewhere.

Reviewed by Nick Wayne
Photo: Geraint Lewis

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