Pamela’s Palace: A cold review with warm words

Friends of Interactive Theatre International tend to be talented, knowledgeable folk. For this blog we thought it might be fun to ask one of them to come in and view Pamela’s Palace completely cold (i.e. without context like a blurb, reviews or images) and to do a write-up about the experience.

Because Pamela’s Palace is the newest ITI baby, it remains easier not to have seen anything about the show, and easier to avoid if one does happen to stumble across something. We asked our friend and creative writer, Robert Lipar (who runs the blog Relatable Not Advisable), to come in for a peek. Robert has a degree in theatre and business, so he understands the landscape well. He has also seen other ITI productions, like Faulty Towers The Dining Experience and The Wedding Reception, so he came in knowing the kind of work we do.
We are very excited to share his words with you… here is what he had to say:

-by Robert Lipar

 

Walking blind into Pamela’s Palace I didn’t know what to expect. I had been left with strict instructions to keep this show, its images and reviews far out of sight.

Having seen Interactive Theatre International’s shows Faulty Towers The Dinning Experience and The Wedding Reception in the past, I knew Pamela’s Palace was going to be a high-energy show with lots of laughter, but no one could have prepared me for this show.

Whilst waiting to go in, Bronwyn greeted us; the mousy Australian intern, who tells us that Pamela might, one day, let her become a stylist herself. She continues on to explain to me what exactly is wrong with my hair and what she would do to “fix” it.

After being gowned Bronwyn leads us to the salon where we are introduced to the beguiling Tiffany, the senior stylist who welcomes us with a glass of bubbly – always a good start to any evening.

 

We then meet the star and owner of Pamela’s Palace: Pamela, who welcomes us to her salon and explains that one of us will be the model for the Stylist of the Year Awards. With bated breath we all sit, hoping and wishing we are picked to be the beautiful, Aphrodite-esque model Pamela is after… but not before all hell breaks loose.

Interactive theatre can be difficult to pull off well. You need to know your audience, and feel the energy of the room otherwise the interactive part of the performance becomes uncomfortable and lacklustre. The cast of Pamela’s Palace did not have that issue at all, they had the whole audience, myself included, on the edge of our seats wanting to be picked out of the crowd to be a part of the show. Pamela and her girls made the audience feel comfortable and welcome from the beginning, which lead to a show that left us with tears streaming down our face and clutching at our sides.

 

Seeing it on a night where it seemed that everything went wrong – keyboards not working and signs falling down – we were then left questioning, is this all part of the show? With the actors’ comedic timing on point and their improvisation so seamless it felt scripted and rehearsed. The cast bounced of each other and the audience seamlessly and we were left laughing along with them.

If you are after some brilliant dance choreography to Justin Beiber, or some fight scenes that leave you gasping, this is the show for you. I would say the demographic for this show is anyone who loves to laugh, young or old. After all the chaos and drama of the show, you are left with the message that you just need to love and to believe in yourself… which just gives me with that gooey feeling inside.

Pamela’s Palace is the only time where I have left a show which lead to a head and stomach-ache in a good way. With a throbbing head from 60 minutes of solid laughter all I can say is you cannot miss this show.

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