Writers: Jonathan Kiley and Alan McHugh
Director: Jonathan Kiley
Reviewer: Hannah Stamp
Pantomime season rolls around once again and no expense has been spared in producing a glittering ensemble of stunning costumes and scenery to bring this fairy tale to life. However, while the production is certainly a feast for the eyes, it fails to produce the same delight for the ears. Musical numbers and jokes fall rather flat, despite the starry presence of a popular cast and buckets of glitter.
Lesley Joseph shows off her years of pantomime experience with effortless grace, portraying Queen Lucretia with wicked humour. No doubt a welcome face to Strictly Come Dancing fans mourning the recent end to this year’s series, she wears an array of sparkly costumes that wouldn’t look out of place in the world of ballroom. Her dark version of I Put a Spell on You allows her to revel in playing the villain as she prances around a smoking cauldron to produce the famed red apple.
Unfortunately, her obvious experience only serves to highlight the inexperience of Duncan James’ Prince Duncan and Charlotte Haines’ Snow White. Their renditions of several pop songs might hit the correct notes but could do with some reinvention to draw them away from karaoke. The limited success of James lies in his interaction with Ben Nickless’ Muddles and their growing friendship, particularly an argument that results in Muddles lip syncing to countless classic songs. Haines, on the other hand, certainly looks the part of a beautiful princess but is otherwise given little characterisation and fails to create a heroine that audiences can root for over the evil Queen Lucretia.
Beautiful costumes and staging make up for the lacklustre jokes and songs. Often quite bare in pantomimes, this stage produces an array of colours and props that might have been stolen from the set of a Disney film. A beautiful cottage to house the seven dwarfs, and a disguised evil Queen flying into the audience certainly help to produce some key wow moments. Dresses smothered in intricate detail for Snow White and Jack Land Noble’s Betty Blumenthal also add sophistication to elements that often get overlooked in the panto world.
Slow to start and quick to end, the pacing is rather haphazard. A rushed defeat of Queen Lucretia might feel like a blink-and-miss-it moment, leading rather briskly into an equally brief royal wedding. Such a delightfully evil villain could do with a more fitting downfall brought on by the heroes of the show. Overall a visually attractive effort, but one that is crying out for a few more laughs. A witty script and more inventive musical numbers are needed to send this show to new heights.
Runs until 14 January 2017 | Image: Contributed