★★ | Pam Ann: Touch Trolley Run to Galley 20th Anniversary Tour, London and other UK cities
Trolley Dolly Pam Ann returns to London with her 20th Anniversary tour – Touch Trolley Run to Galley – but it’s pretty much the same schtick she’s been doing year in and year out.
Australian Pam Ann (real name Caroline Reid) has been making the rounds as the self-described ‘Queen of the skies’ for the past 20 years all around the world, and in this show she lets us know it. Now playing at the Leicester Square Theatre, the show begins with a video montage of her previous shows and the famous people she’s hung out with. Yes, from the minute the video starts we are reminded that the show is all about her. She lets us know that she’s an iconic international celebrity air hostess who has developed cult status over the years with her fans (most of whom are gay and who love her bitchiness and candor). And then when she’s out on stage she picks four audience members and invites them onto the stage to create a new Spice Girls band (who are also celebrating their 20th anniversary). On the night I saw the show, she conveniently picked four gay men from the audience (after all, gay men are so much more likely to ‘get her’) to ‘become’ the Spice Girls. Picking on audience members is a time and tested old tradition used by comedians when they don’t have enough material to fill a show (‘what’s your name?’, ‘where are you from?’ is the usual repertoire), and it’s a bit lazy to do so at the beginning of a show! Anyways, Pam Ann was very good with them; she was quick with one-liners and put-downs, and the men took it all in jest. It’s funny, but I wanted more jokes about the current state of the airline industry and the in-the-news bad treatment of passengers (she did open up with a joke about the United Airlines fiasco but it was a bit too short and too quick).
The second half of the show had her bring out a trolley filled with, of course, alcohol, as well as a bevvy of dolls that represented airline stewardesses from all over the world (an Australian transgender doll was quite funny). But we’ve seen this from her many many times. Pam Ann tells us why she loves BA, and her alter ego Lilly ‘comes out’ all too briefly, and of course, she makes fun of Ryanair (who wouldn’t?). But as the show goes, it’s ‘we’ve seen and heard it all before’, and two hours in she leaves the stage and tells the audience to expect something great – but when she comes back out all she presents to us is a glittering outfit where she then proceeded to take selfies with the audience members whom she chose to be the Spice Girls, and then thud, the show ended, with not a laugh in sight. Pam Ann: Touch Trolley Run to Galley 20th Anniversary tour is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but this consisted of a 20 minute interval and 20 minutes of video footage, including two videos of her interspersed into scenes from the Great British Bake-off – it would’ve been a bit funnier if she would’ve done this live, but that would’ve been perhaps too much effort?
Pam Ann plays at Leicester Square Theatre until 27th May 2017
For more information about Pam Ann and the rest of her UK tour, please visit:
pamann.com / @pamannairbitch / facebook.com/pamannairhostess
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.