Friday, 9 January 2009

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Swan Theatre, High Wycombe
18 December 2008

Hi-ho, hi-go to another Snow White we go!

Another day, another Snow White, and while Snow White at the Grove was excellent, this week just got better and better because Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Wycombe Swan has everything that a panto could ask for – except a dame! But as someone who always needs a dame, I was surprised to discover that this didn’t matter a bit – praise indeed eh?!

Glitz, glamour, comedy, song and dance with a charming Snow White with a pure voice (Lucy Sinclair), a handsome Prince, in the form of Sam Kane who also directs and an evil villain played by Sam’s elegant wife Linda Lusardi.

It’s slick, fun and unusually for a panto, at times highly original. Mostly these days, you just enjoy the execution of the familiar panto conventions like the ghost scene. And while these were very well done too, there were also scenes that I hadn’t seen in panto before, such as Muddles aping the Queen behind her full length mirror and the part where he is turned into a frog and involves a rock, a large mat and his green tights falling down!

Muddles (Kev Orkian) was genuinely funny and a huge hit with the audience, especially the kids. Sam Kane is a fitting Prince and this character was in the story far more than usual in order to show his great talents as an actor, dancer and of course singer. What a voice he has!

Linda Lusardi is excellent as the Wicked Queen and there was a delicious sense of irony as the rest of the characters continuously called her things like ugly old hag when she is clearly absolutely gorgeous, and looked simply fabulous in her elegant costumes.

Lucy Sinclair did all that is asked of the title role, she was sweet and innocent and sang beautifully and meanwhile, the seven dwarfs provided a good deal of the comedy, gently mocking themselves.

It’s all a lot of fun with a feel good factor that you only get from a close company who are clearly enjoying themselves – the only thing missing was Sooty and Sweep (see Grove Theatre below!)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Grove Theatre, Dunstable
16 December 2008

Bear-ly concealed delight!

After the disappointment of Peter Pan not really being a panto, with no dame and too much plot, it was absolutely fantastic to get back to traditional pantomime in Dunstable.

Watching Snow White I laughed out loud again and I have to say that this was mainly due to an orange bear and a squeaky dog. Yes, Sooty and Sweep – my heroes! Who could think that two small hand puppets (sorry for spoiling the illusion kids!) could be so funny. Well, obviously as a devotee (and owner of their DVD Wet and Wild Water Fun!) I knew this, but it was a pure joy to see it all confirmed on stage!

Richard Cadell has recently taken on the Sooty and Sweep mantle from the Corbetts. He made a loveable Muddles and the two furry animals were his pals. Sweep’s rendition of Nessun Dorma was hilarious, Sooty of course didn’t say much but stole the show!

There were others of course in the show. Letitia Dean was an elegant Wicked Queen, who was also delightfully camp at times. And to my delight there was a Dame. There isn’t normally one in Snow White, and Dame Donut was a little superfluous to the story but hey, it was a dame so what the hell! Her clothes looked a little shabby and weren’t as creative or outrageous as Paul Laidlaw’s in Stevenage, but I was past caring – as long as the bear came on again soon, I didn’t mind!

All in all, great festive entertainment, just like pantos should be!