It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas so how better to get in the mood than a good panto?. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is currently at Derngate Theatre, Northampton and it’s so funny it needs a funny warning in advance!
Snow White is the most beautiful in all the land but she feels more like a slave, cleaning and cooking for her step mum, the wicked Queen. The Queen is dreadfully jealous of Snow and decides to murder her, so Snow White runs away into the forest where she meets seven dwarfs.
The Queen is played by Wendi Peters and I don’t think I will ever watch Doctors in the same way again. Wendi is a brilliant baddie, has some fab costumes that I would wear and really has nailed the wicked laugh. I almost wanted to shout ‘Send her back to the Mill Surgery’ when we were booing her! Fabulous work Wendi.
Our resident Dame is Bob Golding and he is ridiculously funny that if there was a funny meter, he would smash it. You already know this if you are a regular to Derngate Pantos. Bob is a traditional Dame who has more outfits than I’ve had hot dinners. Each one is a spectacle to behold but Bob is so much more than this – he is so funny and his improv is beyond. For example, we were so busy watching the show we forgot to shout to stop them killing Snow White so Bob breaks the fourth wall and tells us we need to shout and starts the scene again. Oh, my goodness how we all laughed and felt a little guilty…but mainly laughed. Bob is playing Nurse Nelly (this year) and is worth the ticket price alone!
Snow White is played by Lauren Lane and she is the embodiment of everything Snow should be. She is kind, thoughtful of others and Lauren has a wonderful singing voice too. Prince Charming is indeed charming. Dazzlingly played by Ore Odube, he is a thigh slapping traditional prince who twinkles every time he smiles. Herman has a dream. Played by Marc Pickering, Herman has an eastern European accent of no fixed abode and loves Freddie Mercury. Don’t worry Queen fans, you will get your Queen Greatest Hits medley in the second act. Marc is hysterical and just his face or body movements make you laugh even before he opens his mouth. Holding it all together is Muddles played by Joey Wilby who is working so hard to keep us all on track. He is the glue that is holding the chaos together. The show is very interactive, and be warned men in the audience, Nurse Nelly is looking for a new husband with the help of her dream cam. Tonight, Dave in row E was the lucky chosen one. Bob started saying ‘Hello Dave’ when she came on stage and I couldn’t help but think of A League of Gentlemen (If you know, you know). This took the show to another level of funny.
I loved the new take on the seven dwarfs. We have Sarge (Dean Whatton), Cheeky (George Coppen), Scrum (Liam Roche), Kevin (Jack Hilton), Loopy (Kain Francis), Sniffy (Alireza Sarebani and Groover (Paddy Holden). Although not the familiar names you remember, each character is clearly defined so you know who they are representing. I want to give Loopy a special mention as not only is he as flexible as an acrobat, he is also an unexpected Brian May impressionist and I loved that. The show is speckled with a wonderful array of songs including Paint It Black, Paper Rings, I’m A Believer, Poison, Walking On Sunshine and even some musical numbers including Dear Evan Hanson’s You Will Be Found and Hairspray’s Welcome to the 60’s (Welcome to the cottage). There really is something for everyone.
We have some familiar scenes such as the ‘ghost’ scene where we can all shout out behind you when the ghosts appear. I love the dry wit humour of the script and the quick-fire jokes shot out like ammunition in a machine gun in the fruit and veg scene. This is family fun at its finest. I recommend this show highly and would go again in a heartbeat
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is at Derngate Theatre, Northampton until 31 December 2023.
Photos: Pamela Raith