There’s a few things you can rely on during the festive period in the valleys. Black Friday being several notches higher on the carnage scale than in most towns being one of them.
Owen Money in panto in Blackwood is another one of those constants. He has taken up resident at the Miners’ Institute for the best part of two decades now and on the evidence of this latest offering – Peter Pan – he shows no sign of slowing down, yet alone stopping. In fact, there are plans for an adult-only pantomime in the New Year called ‘Buttons Undone’ at the same venue which will no doubt become a regular fixture if he can repeat the success of his Christmas shows.
With an Owen Money Christmas pantomime you know exactly what you’re going to get if you’ve been before. There are the usual tropes such as cast members spontaneously cracking up when a ‘mistake’ is made or some jokes being staler than a loaf of bread excavated at some Roman ruins but the familiarity of an Owen Money Christmas pantomime is part of the attraction. It’s like that pair of well-worn slippers next to the front door that are comforting as soon as you get home.
An Owen Money pantomime also represents very good value for money. His early bird family ticket is nearly half the price of a rival pantomime in Cardiff. It’s therefore no wonder that the venue is packed out and that the run is sold out on many nights to come.
With a cast that includes Ruth Petersen as Tinkerbell, Aaron Davies as Peter Pan and Samantha Link as Tiger Lily, Peter Pan is a lively take on the J M Barrie tale of a mischievous boy that never grows up. That premise may have been a novelty at the turn of the 20th century when it was first written but doesn’t seem so out of place now. Anyway, Money’s version is filled with laughter, music and dancing. There’s even a couple of jokes about “Welsh Assembly Members” in the set as well. Quite what they have done to irk Money is anybody’s guess but the joke about pay at BBC Radio Wales is easier to understand the origin of. As per usual, Money is the star of the show and the audience of all ages respond accordingly. He particularly excels when he is ad-libbing or interacting with an audience member due to a razor-sharp wit honed after decades of performing on the club circuit.
After the good guys win and the bad guys lose, all that is left to do is have one more sing-song and a dance for the appreciative crowd. Fittingly, with its lyric of ‘Here I Go Again’, Abba’s Mamma Mia is the encore track. It seems Owen Money has the energy and enthusiasm to go again and again.
Until December 30