“The York Family Robinson” – Pantomime Review

This pantomime was such a pleasurable amalgamation of talent and humour; not like anything I have ever seen before. The York Family Robinson, Berwick Kaler’s famous pantomime and York’s favourite, has achieved a total of 33 consecutive years of sold-out shows.

A moment of action. Via Flickr

From the very first minute of the show, there were giggles in the audience, probably from those who had seen this pantomime before and knew they were in for a treat. Kaler’s grand entrance on a dinosaur followed by a cheesy-but-witty dialogue only enhanced this giggle into a wild roar of laughter.

In addition to his own brilliance performance, it was clear that Kaler had moulded or sourced some of the finest talent there is. Whether it was the orchestra, the singing, the acting or even the dancing – the performance hardly had any room for improvement. Each element of the pantomime was soaked in dexterity and grace.

The highlight of the show was unquestionably a scene whereby the dramatic and emotionally stirring music of Tchaikovsky was overpowered by Kaler in his swan attire flying around stage with the assistance of wires. Upon Tchaikovsky’s climax, Kaler’s “dying swan” drops to the stage yelling, “I’ve been shot!” Less amusing in theory, this scene was ridiculously hilarious when performed by Kaler.

In addition to this immaculate enactment, The York Family Robinson displayed glamorous costumes. Most commendable were the heels which Robinson Caruso and Jim Robinson (when disguised as women so as to be permitted on “No Man’s Land”) managed to dance impeccably in – without the little trip ups that even women in heels would suffer.

The plot balanced somewhere between that of Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe – but of course, these comparisons are trivial and nothing compared to The York Family Robinson. The enthusiasm of Rosie Robinson and slapstick humour of Jim Robinson, the droll sarcasm of Zantanus junior and the language barrier that disables Man Friday from expressing that “he” is in fact a girl – these were the aspects that enriched Kaler’s pantomime.

The York Family Robison had few dull moments – negligible – and ended on an exciting, memorable note with a catchy tongue-twisting tune that encouraged audience participation in a little “lads” versus “lasses” frolic. All in all, the pantomime was top-notch. It is hardly surprising that it has managed to run for 33 consecutive years. The York Family Robinson is truly a treat and a brilliant way of spending an afternoon or evening with friends, family, or both!

Praise for The York Family Robinson:

“A show for all – plenty of visual gags for the bairns and varied comedy for the adults. I simply cannot recommend The York Family Robison any more highly.”
– Backstage Pass

For those who didn’t get a chance to watch The York Family Robinson this year, don’t make the mistake of missing it next year!


About the author

Tara Sud

After living the first seventeen years of my life in India, I travelled to the England to study at the University of York. My undergraduate degree was in English Literature and Linguistics, and I am currently completing my Masters degree in Romantic and Sentimental Literature. Apart from writing, I thoroughly enjoy playing piano and consider myself a commendable Scrabble competitor. I have a keen interest in literature, psychology and biology and love to learn in general.