12 December 2014 to 4 January 2015
Reviewed by Heather Tilmouth
My daughter and I were delighted to be invited to review Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Sunderland Empire on 12th December 2014. Sunderland Empire is a beautiful old theatre which is comfortable and very well looked after. Parking is easy at the Bridges Car Park and St Mary’s Car Park, both of which are only a few minutes walk away. The staff at the theatre are very polite and helpful. The atmosphere of the theatre is lively and noisy at times as you would expect for a pantomime, although some of the adults made more noise than the children!
This performance of the well-known classic story ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ is filled with fun, dancing and laughter, making it a fantastic evening of family entertainment. There is plenty of audience participation, jokes aimed at the kids and lots more aimed at the adults, some of which are very cheeky, but it is all part of the fun of panto! The show follows the traditional plot of the famous story where Snow White is enslaved by her wicked stepmother until she finds freedom in the forest with seven dwarfs. However, The Wicked Queen wants her dead and poisons her but the Prince comes to her rescue and saves her with a kiss.
The Wicked Queen is played by Sue Pollard who is forever asking her mirror if she “is the fairest in all the land?” The poetic mirror, always gave excellent responses telling her that she is no longer the most beautiful. Andrew Agnew who is probably best known as the crime-busting P.C. Plum plays the very simple Muddles, who proved to be a huge hit with the kids and leads the audience through a song with actions, encouraging everyone to join in and tells many bad jokes. The panto dame role, Nurse Penny Well, who is also Muddles mother, Snow White’s nursemaid and cook in the kitchen, is taken on by Philip Meeks. The very beautiful Snow White is played by Victoria Serra who sang beautifully throughout the performance as did Matt Lapinskas (EastEnders and Dancing on Ice) who plays the very handsome Prince, and was very popular with the ladies. One of the highlights was the singing of the alternative “Twelve Days of Christmas” which was very funny. The seven dwarfs were great, dancers and extras all helped pull the story together, along with some lovely costumes and beautiful sets.
Although this was a hugely enjoyable pantomime and taking into consideration that this was the opening night, my only criticism would be that it was missing some slapstick comedy on occasions and sometimes felt a little flat. However, I would recommend it as a good night for the whole family and would give it four stars.
Tickets cost from £11.90 to £32.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at the Sunderland Empire until 4 January 2015. For more i nformation or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3022.
Sunderland Empire, High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3EX | 0844 871 3022