Writer: Eric Potts
Director: Jane Joseph
Reviewer: John Roberts
With Snow White, Jane Joseph has found a magical mix of music and merriment to bring the massive Empire Theatre alive this Christmas. It might not be as fast paced as last year’s production of Dick Whittington, but it certainly strikes gold.
Snow White may not be full of the biggest names in show-business like its sister pantomime Aladdin in Manchester, but it is still filled to the brim with laugh out loud gags and excellent performances. Liam Mellor as Muddles is like a Duracell bunny on heat, he never stops and his enthusiasm and commitment is captivating. Leanne Campbell brings the Mersey right into her menacing Queen Morgiana, never has a wicked queen been so chavtastic.
Colin Connor brings much to the role of Herman the Henchman and provides the perfect comedy foil for Campbell’s queen. Stephen Fletcher can sing like a dream and he also looks every bit the dashing prince and Jorgie Porter makes for an engaging, if a little twee, Snow White. It is also pleasing to see a cast of Dwarf actors actually take on the roles of Prof (played with real panache by Scott English), Sniffly (Jamie Legg), Blusher ( James Lusted), Cheeky (Charlotte Lyons) Grumbly (Craig Salisbury), Snoozy (Peter Sunter) and Loopy (played with real charm by Danny Blackner).
Director Joseph finds a great balance between the standard go-to pantomime routines (the finest Twelve Days of Christmas seen in many a year) and scenes written by Pantomime stalwart Eric Potts, whose scripts continue to be topical and a little bit naughty. Joseph once again pairs up with choreographer Beverley Norris-Edmunds who pulls out all the stops in an engaging mix of dance routines, likewise, the musical choices stay on trend and also provide some great “local” music choices – one will never look at The Beatles in quite the same way again!
First Family Entertainment certainly spares no money in how magical their productions look, and the set design and lighting design (James Smith) are bright, eye catching and atmospheric… even the play-in-front cloths, which are normally rather plain. are delightful to look at.
If one is to find fault with the production is that the show starts to drag a little towards the end of the first act and it’s a crying shame that this year’s production misses the chance to provide home for a dame… as Rodgers and Hammerstein once said “There is nothing like a dame” and this reviewer couldn’t agree more. Nevertheless, Snow White is a fun-filled production that certainly brings the magic to Merseyside and will provide you and your family with a Christmas show to enjoy thoroughly.
Runs until 31 December 2017 | Image: Mark McNulty