Review: Pant Soc’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Opening with an exaggerated, Monty Python-esque prologue played through the speakers, the scene of Pant Soc’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is set: we’re in fifteenth century Paris and cross dressing, circus folk, and magic ensues. 

Before the cast come on stage, you get to have a good look at Brigit Smith’s brilliant set. Cleverly divided into thirds, we have the interior of the Notre Dame; bustling Paris; and a circus tent. The in house band are in the center of the upper stage and remain there throughout. Having an in house band was a great idea: they performed impeccably and it gave the production a professional feel. The innovative use of the screens in Central Hall also added impact to the musical numbers and helped to situate the scenes with the gargoyles.

Image credit: Lilli Hender
Image credit: Lilli Hender

‘Feast of Fools’ was undeniably the stand out number in the production with everyone performing to the highest standard. Some of the numbers needed tightening up a bit in terms of choreography and a few of the scenes needed a snappier pace but the cast put their all into it for the full two and a half hours. Harry Elletson and Lisa Owen are clearly both natural performers and their Quentin and Esmeralda were enjoyable to watch.  Harry Ward was great as the pantomime baddie with a suitably evil laugh and watching his guards play human wack-a-mole during one of his and Frollo’s serious talks was one of the highlights. Writer Louise Jones and director Golfo Thane have clearly given thought to the character of even the smallest roles.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a fun production and if you’re set to have a boring night in tonight or tomorrow, go out instead and see the show.

Student tickets are £4 and the show begins at 7.30pm in Central Hall tonight and Saturday. 

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Lilli Hender

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