‘Awesome’, ‘epic’ and ‘huge fun’ is the verdict on Brentwood Brewing Company’s second annual pantomime, The Drunkest Showman, which took place at the brewery’s Christmas Beer Festival (Saturday 7th December).
To encourage donations to local children’s charity SNAP, members of the brewery team, family and friends who comprised the cast, entertained festival goers with an hour long, family-friendly, free production, written by MD Roland Kannor’s youngest son, Ralph.
Praise for Panto
“It was epic! A great way to kick off the festive season.”
Paul Young (Facebook).
“Great afternoon. Huge fun, amusing and well presented show and such a nice atmosphere. Well done.”
Robert Bass (Facebook).
As well as writing the panto script and adapting the lyrics to five songs from The Greatest Showman, Ralph Kannor directed the show and played the lead role of Roland, his father.
“It was a big nose to fill but hopefully I did the iconic character that is my Dad, justice. Thank you to everyone for making my stupidity a reality.”
Head Brewer Ethan Kannor and Roland’s wife Debbie Kannor played themselves. Daughter Hope Kannor, got to wear last year’s Brexit the Cow panto costume from Jack and the Beerstalk as Moo-Ber the Pedestrian Taxi. Roland was the Narrator.
In the tradition of pantomime and in the style of The Greatest Showman, this unique show started by telling the brewery’s own story from the spark of an idea in a pub. Then, time travelling, to a dystopian, imagined future of a corporate buy-out, automated production and worse still, a product lacking in taste and integrity. A wake-up call follows which focusses Roland’s mind on the values that really matter. The story jumps back to the present day for a happy ending, with a rousing power anthem finishing the show.
There was the usual panto audience participation, a professional heckler and with printed song sheets at the ready, the audience was encouraged to join in the singing. Adults also had the option of buying a ticket so they could enjoy five different beers written into the panto that were served during the show, with a donation going to SNAP charity.
SNAP ambassador Penny Hollington, joined the cast playing a key role as Buddy the Devil, an evil Lager Rep and was delighted with the audience’s response, booing her character so heartily.
“It was tremendous fun again for us and it seemed to go down pretty well with the audience as, surprisingly, we even got an encore, so it couldn’t have been too bad.
“The panto was about fun, the local community coming together to bring some festive cheer to entertain local people and raise a little cash for SNAP charity. Incidentally, if you didn’t see the panto but would like to make a donation, we’re still collecting,” said MD Roland.
With limited resources for the set and costumes, there were some clever,
creative solutions, design ideas and props.
Brewery Sales Manager Brett Sanders acted as technical guru and Sound Manager.
Other cast members included Brewer Dave Golding (Heckler and Elephant), Office Manager Carol Tomsett and freelance Press Officer Wendy Pike (Staff, Bearded Ladies and Pub Punters), Phil Peberdy (Italian Chef and Brewer, Welsh Bartender, Scouse Bartender and Lager Bod, Bubble Boy), Paul Buckley (Dave Holmes, Staff and Bearded Lady) and Andy Webb (Staff, Pub Punter and most attractive Bearded Lady).
Ahead of the performance, The Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Keith Parker, popped into the festival to chat with festival goers, wish everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’ and say ‘break a leg’ to the brewery team.
The brewery’s festive beers, Frosty Baubles and Good Elf were among the dozen on the real ale menu along with a new milk stout from Brentwood’s Elephant School brand, My Milk Stout Brings All the Bulls to the Yard.
Hungry festival goers were catered for too with freshly hand made pizzas on offer by Emily and Chris Grey of Azure Wood-Fired Pizza from Braintree.
Earlier in the day Shenfield Operatic Society performed at the beer festival, singing traditional Christmas Carols. Their next production, The Producers, takes place at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch from 29 January – 1 February next year.
“There was some very clever scripting. The Drunkest Showman was an amazing show which would easily fit on the West End stage.”
Gerry Giant from Rayleigh
“We really enjoyed ourselves. Can’t wait until next year.”
Bill Amos (Facebook).
The curtain may only just have come down on this year’s brewery panto but already there is talk of another show next year.
One possibility is a Dickens theme. Plus there is mention of a potential inaugural summer extravaganza, Mamma Bia (Beer).
“All credit to Ralph for his vision, commitment and for writing the show, adapting the songs and playing the lead. And no, I haven’t got a big nose!
But big thanks also to everyone who gave up their time for rehearsals and helped to make the panto happen and of course to everyone who came along to watch and join in.”
Tryanuary 2020 Beer Tasting
Brentwood Brewery’s next event will be Tryanuary beer tasting on Saturday 18th January. Tickets at £10, which include 5 beers, are available from the Brewery Shop. “Everyone is welcome. People can come on the day without a ticket and buy any beer they like, we’ll have plenty of choice” said Roland.