14 December to 2 January 2017
Reviewed by Louise Watts
Myself, my husband and our 4 children (aged 13, 11, 8 and 2½ years) attended Snow White last evening in Tunbridge Wells. “Oh no you didn’t” I hear you saying, “Oh yes we did” I reply!
Everyone loves a good pantomime. For me it is part of my Christmas experience. I always went with my Mum as a child and it is something I want to pass onto my children. In my opinion, pantomime is good clean family fun, so did we all enjoy it?
We all know the story of Snow White. The beautiful princess whose mother died when she was a child leaving her father to marry the Wicked Queen who became Snow White’s stepmother. Sadly her father also then dies leaving her with the dreadful woman who was horrid to her and used her like a slave. Snow White was then led to the forest after her and the prince (who the step mother wanted for herself) fell in love and her stepmother was left thinking she had succeeded in her plan to have Snow White killed, only to find that this was not the case and she was actually alive and well living with 7 little men / dwarfs in the forest. After the Wicked Queen discovers she is still alive, she seeks her out and kills her with a poisonous apple… until the Prince finds her and gives her the kiss of true love and she awakes. They then marry and live happily ever after…
Now add to that comedy, games, singing and general panto etiquette and you end up with an evening of pure family entertainment.
There are certain rules that pantomime has to abide by. These are as follows:
There must be a baddy. TV favourite and pantomime regular Su Pollard played the part of the Wicked Queen. I grew up watching Hi De Hi as a child so the opportunity to see Su perform on stage was a treat for me and she did not disappoint. She had an incredible balance between playing the bad guy but also capturing the audience to the point where you felt yourself drawn towards her too. This is quite a balance to achieve and is no doubt assisted by her wealth of panto experience (she has performed in over 35 pantomimes!) I am not sure my husband will ever be the same again having seen Su Pollard in leopard print pyjamas but what a character. Her humour was incredible and her performance nothing short of breath taking…. an absolute pleasure to watch as long as you didn’t touch the frock!
There must be a comic. The part of Muddles, Snow White’s best friend and secret admirer was played by Jamie Rickers from Citv and Nickelodeon. To say he was hilarious would not serve him justice. He was absolutely brilliant and a firm favourite of my daughters’. He played the part of “simple” Muddles perfectly and had the whole audience, particularly the children behind him.
There must be a Dame. The Dame went by the name of Nurse Dolly Cough-Drop. I am not entirely sure how to describe the incredible part played by Jamie Steen so I will tell you what my 2½ year old son said. When I asked him in the interval who was his favourite, he pointed to Dolly on the flyer I had and said “She is beautiful”… Jamie was an absolute delight to see on stage. His costumes were out of this world. I think my personal favourite was the fairy Liquid one but all I know is my husband chuckled every time “she” entered the stage! The partnership between Muddles and Dolly had me in stitches and there were numerous people laughing out loud at their comedy partnership. True genius!
There has to be romance. Bring on the beautiful Snow White played by Millie Booth. Apart from being absolutely stunning, boy can this girl sing. She was cast perfectly for this role. Her princess qualities shone through and her voice was a delight to listen to. Her love interest the Prince, played by the incredibly handsome Chris Warner-Drake was fantastic. He was gorgeous in his tights (even though he needs to redress for tonight’s performance following a rather awkward incident with Muddles!) He sang perfectly, played the part of the Prince spot on but still demonstrated some humour and ad-lib in to his performance.
Then you have to have something extra special. Bring on the Dwarfs. Each one of them were incredible. They performed their parts with confidence and skill. A group of true gems in the show. My personal favourite was Smiler as he really had the cutest grin.
Other panto traditions. Then on top of all this, you have to add the ghost song, a few sweets thrown in to the audience, some children on stage and 12 water pistols. Sitting at the front was amazing but we did get a little wet! Did it bother us? Absolutely not, it was all in the spirit of pantomime!
So to bring my thoughts on the evening to a close, I have to say it was an absolutely outstanding performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with an exceptionally funny and talented cast. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to anyone of any age. I loved it, my husband loved it (and was rather pleased to see Su Pollard) and my children loved it.
The venue itself is lovely too. The staff are always friendly and willing to help. There is a bar and also a coffee shop where you can buy drinks and light snacks. Parking is easy and cheap at the flat rate of £1 for the evening in the adjacent multi storey car park.
Tickets cost from £13 to £25.50 (booking fees may apply).
Snow Whote and the Seven Dwarfs is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells until 2 January 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU | 01892 530613