Writer: Alan McHugh
Director: David Goodal
Choreographer: Martin McLaughlin
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonal
Pantomime perfection is often striven for but rarely achieved. In a wee theatre in Greenock on a snowy December night, Snow White confirms that it’s not always the biggest shows that are the best.
The recipe for success mixes a tried-and-tested storyline, a killer script and a whole lot of fun. Snow White caters to all sections of its audience and never fails to put the focus on its host town, often at the expense of surrounding Inverclyde and local footie team Morton.
In his script, Alan McHugh keeps much of what we know of the story of Snow White whilst leaving the snore-inducing snippets on the editorial floor. Blink and you’ll miss the death of the blushing Princess, but that doesn’t matter because we have a wedding to attend…
Jimmy Chisholm is billed as Greenock’s favourite dame. He is the blinding jewel in the crown of this theatrical treat. Nurse Mattie McBattie is a dame like no other and arguably Scotland’s best kept secret. Muddles (Lee Samuel) is never far from the spotlight and evil Queen Sadista (Jane McCarry) allows us to exercise our boo-hiss muscles till they’re sore.
An added treat for the youngsters is the on-screen appearance of Justin Fletcher, of cbeebies fame. His unmistakable giggle prompts little hands to wave as the Magic Mirror fades in and out; this is a clever addition and ensures that little eyes don’t ever wander too far from the action. Similarly, the seven dwarves are well delivered and work well on this scale.
Whilst never losing momentum, the musical selection seems out of place in this otherwise bang-up-to-date extravaganza. Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling may not have seen the top end of the charts for some years, yet all is forgiven with a super-cali-fragilistic cloot.
As pantomime comes, Snow White is up there with the best. Its two hour (interval inclusive) running time is perfect for little ones and its value – both in ticket price and the tuck shop bill – rivals most big-town shows of a lesser quality. The intimacy of the venue plays well here too; where production values exceed that of large scale theatre pantos, you feel right in the thick of the action.
Expect laughter lines, belly aches and boo-inducing sequences in this masterclass of pantomime. Don’t save this show up for a rainy day, you’d better be quick to catch your dose of festive cheer whilst it’s still here.
Runs until 31 December | Image: Eoin Carey