Joy, joy, joy! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was nothing short of a pantomime paragon.
Filled with humour, twists and a visual banquet of colour – everyone in the packed-out Hippodrome left feeling uplifted after the fun-filled family show.
Beginning in Brizzle Town, the characters including Queen Dragonella (played by former Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph) and The Man in the Mirror ( Rob Rinder, aka Judge Rinder), and yes that song is played every time he danced on to the stage, are getting ready for Snow White’s birthday party.
While the fairytale has lots of references to the timeless story we all know – like Snow White (played by Charlotte Haines) falling in love with Prince Harry of Hengrove (played by Dale Mathurin) – writer Alan McHugh develops the plot with lots of modern twists, and director Andrew Ryan introduces a number of additions to entertain a panto audience.
The jokes come thick and fast from Muddle (played by Andy Ford) who was a real highlight of the production. With lots of sexual innuendos, political references and slap-stick humour, his gags were ones both old and young could enjoy alike.
This production has plenty of energy, with the next dance scene never too far away – in fact, there’s even a dance-off between The Man in the Mirror and Muddle during one brilliantly choreographed marvel.
The production is also a song-packed feast of Christmas cheer, with festive songs flanked throughout. And be warned, the songs are infectious. This is the first time I’ve ever been in a theatre where my seat was bouncing up and down because people sitting in my row were enjoying the music so much they couldn’t stop themselves from vigorously dancing along.
Lesley played the panto villain perfectly, with just enough scenes to be slightly frightening but her tone was also silly and endearing, which meant my daughter wasn’t clung to me every time she appeared on stage. Her interactions with Muddle were some of the most humorous throughout the play.
Another real highlight was Ian Westbook’s set, filled with sparkling lights, a magical winter wonderland and an enchanting forest.
At the end, there wasn’t so much as a standing ovation but a dancing ovation, with everyone on their feet enjoying the grand confetti finale.
For anyone looking for a festive treat, this is definitely an outing children and adults will relish alike.
By the end, my six-year-old (who is often too shy to get involved) was clapping and dancing – and gasped with joy when Snow White came out in her big, sparkly dress, which just proves the magic of theatre and the unrivalled pleasure of this production.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is showing at Bristol’s Hippodrome until 2 Jan 2022