Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs at The Theatre Royal, Bath
I love panto. I love the glitz, the singing, the dancing, the romance, the puns, the innuendo, the campness, the arch knowingness, the audience participation and watching the kids’ reaction. And I absolutely loved Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The Theatre Royal because it delivered on every single one of these elements. In droves.
This performance had everything you would expect, including an engaging storyline, strong musical numbers, beautiful and detailed sets, lovely costumes, and a talented team of actors. And we had comedy at every turn, including topical references, lots of innuendo and a smattering of slapstick.
Our romantic heroes, Snow White and Prince Frederick, played by Devon-Elise Johnson and Michael Quinn, gave incredible vocal performances, including some of the well-known classics from the film such as “Wishing” and “Some Day My Prince Will Come”. Devon-Elise ditched the ditzy, twee Disney Snow White for a rendition that was fresh, likeable and contemporary.
Michael Quinn’s performance as Frederick, was knowingly tongue-in-cheek. If this Alpha Prince had been a cartoon, his teeth would have pinged with a flash of light every time he smiled. He was traditionally princely enough to satisfy the story-telling element for the kids, with a hint of Lord Flashheart from Blackadder to amuse the parents. Incidentally, his hyper-tight tights (and the lunch box innuendos in the script) caused a bit of a flurry amongst a group of mums sitting near us, which escalated into eye-wiping hysterics by the time of the “ghosties and ghoulies” routine!
Harriet Thorpe was superbly arch as the Wicked Queen (with a most glamorous costume!), relishing the boos from the audience and riffing off some mini-hecklers from the audience.
For the kids, of course, it was all about the Seven Dwarfs and they were mesmerised by the talented troupe of actors playing them from the first strains of Hi Ho. Particular mention should go to Simeon Dyer playing Smiler for his part in the outstanding Twelve Days of Christmas comedy routine.
The ensemble of dancers was also very polished, with the babes from the Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance especially melting hearts in their uber-cute woodland creature costumes.
But the heart, soul and energy that totally carried this particular production must belong to the extremely talented duo of Jon Monie and Nick Wilton, playing Muddles the Jester and Dame Dolly respectively. The fact that these actors have worked together on Bath pantomimes before was evident from their palpable on-stage chemistry. Their timing was immaculate, the performances polished and the gags flowed – including those that flew way over the heads of the children just for the adults. The magic hat routine with Prince Frederick, in particular, was superbly executed.
I realise that this highly positive review could come over as somewhat sycophantic, but actually, this was an accomplished, polished and highly entertaining production where I struggled to find a single area of weakness. Highly recommended.