A Good Panto Die Hard

This is a wickedly fun idea for a production, a retelling of 80s favourite, Die Hard, as a pantomime/musical parody.

A startlingly high dose of energy and playfulness

For those who aren’t familiar, the film Die Hard tells the story of John McClane, a New York City police detective who has arrived in Los Angeles to reconnect with his estranged wife. But he becomes trapped in a skyscraper while a criminal organisation takes everyone inside as hostages. Acting alone, McClane must use all his skills to turn the tables, with explosive results.

A Good Panto Die Hard takes all this blockbuster goodness and spins it into a hilarious new format with song, dance and the occasional panto staple (Oh no it doesn’t!) oh yes it does!

Part of me wishes it leant in more heavily with the panto style, because I’d really call this more of a musical comedy with a bit of audience participation. Nonetheless, whichever it is, you can expect an incredibly high quality production with a cast of four showing immense talent and energy.

Shane McDaid makes for a great McClane and indeed bears quite the resemblance to this younger Bruce Willis. It’s great fun when he steps out of character, dons his native accent, and plays with the audience, which was well done. He kept us invested and made for a charismatic panto hero.

Belle Quinlan as Holly is funny and likeable, and her singing is particularly good. She delivers everything with a twinkling energy and is great to watch. As a monstrous henchman, too, she is clearly having a lot of fun with it and it’s infectious.

Bradley Hawkes does a superb impression of Hans, paying homage to Alan Rickman’s German(ish)/English(ish) accent with brilliant accuracy. I especially enjoyed his amazing dancing which was somehow both funny and impressive.

And Alex Stewart is incredibly watchable in her many roles and also impressed me with her dance moves. She brings a cheeky charm to the stage that really made me smile, and her comic timing is great.

Overall, this production delivers a startlingly high dose of energy and playfulness. Director Victoria Gimby has designed every movement and gag down to the finest detail, making for a rich comedy experience. The musical arrangements by Antony Irwin have been well chosen and well created to give us a dynamic 1980s soundtrack. And the script by Trevor O’Connell sparkles with mischief and flows naturally through the piece.

Even if you’re not a fan of Die Hard, I suspect you may still enjoy a performance packed with silliness and entertaining musical numbers. If you are a fan, then you’re in for a treat.

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Reviews by Jasmine Arden-Brown

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Performances

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The Blurb

A hilarious pantomime parody of the blockbuster that redefined cinema: Die Hard. With the fourth wall reduced to rubble, the reluctant Prince and his trusty Sidekick must save the captured Princess from the maniacal Baddie and his idiotic Henchmen, supported inexplicably by People in Drag. The audience will find out what a TV dinner feels like while this show pulls off the intellectual property heist of the century, featuring the incomparable sound of 80s hits from artists like Phil Collins, Duran Duran, Run DMC and many more. It's a Christmas movie! (Oh no it's not!)

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