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Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.

Its cold outside, you have your Christmas decorations up and you know the holidays are on their way.  How else to celebrate the forthcoming season than a good panto?  Snow White and the seven Dwarfs is currently at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury and last night I was invited to their spectacular gala night.

What a fabulous night it was.  Andy Collins, is in his 12th year of panto at Waterside - this year playing Muddles.  It’s his best show to date.  It’s worth all your money to see Andy dressed up as Elton John singing I’m still standing.  Oh, my goodness – how brilliant was this?! I love Andy and have so much admiration for his energy and enthusiasm.  He needs his energy, of course, for the second half.  If you have never been before you may not know about the bra that was made to fit three song.  Well let me enlighten you.  It’s a take on the 12 days of Christmas.  What you need to know is there are toilet rolls that get thrown into the audience and it’s your job to keep throwing them to other members of the audience to get Andy running about.  But don’t feel guilty.  Andy will get his revenge once he brings out the water pistols.  And when I say water pistols I don’t mean some tiny squirt of a pistol – oh no…Andy has a huge one and you will get wet.  Consider yourself warned.  Andy also works with the small children from the audience too and last night was a classic.  A little girl burst into tears so her mum came on stage with her.  Andy is the ad-lib king saying to the stage hands to get the sanitizer ready when he had to hold the little girls snotty hand.  His improv was just hilarious.  Andy is a true star.  Love youuuu Andy.  You have excelled yourself this year.  I didn’t stop laughing.

Snow White is the most beautiful in all the land but she feels more like a slave, cleaning and cooking for her step mum, Queen Grimelda.  She has good friends like Muddles and his mum Dame Dilly.  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.

Snow White is played by Rhiannon Chesterman and she is the embodiment of everything Snow should be.  Her gentle manner; her beautiful singing voice and even her sweet speaking voice; she is adorable.  Queen Grimelda is brilliantly acted by Lyndsey Gardiner who is beautiful and also rather scary - an interesting mix.  I loved how she changed her voice to a Scottish accent when she gives Snow the poisoned apple.  Lyndsey told me after the show how much she enjoys playing Grimelda.  She completely won me over.  If I ever trod the boards again, I’d be tempted to be the baddie.

Dame Dilly is played by Leon Craig. Leon is stepping into the void left by La Voix and there are a few references to her (such as when Dame Dilly is throwing the toilet rolls – Muddles quips ‘That’s why we got rid of the last one’).  But Leon is a seasoned professional, a very camp and traditional Dame and makes the transition so easy you have already forgotten.  La Who?  I absolutely loved all the outfits Dilly wears including a Barbie number and a Chinese takeaway number.

Eastenders fans will have to choose who wins the battle of the Square this year with the hunky James Bye in Aylesbury over Brian Conley who is in Milton Keynes.  Let me say I loved James.  His adaption of Prince Fredrick from Fairford Leys is brilliant.  He has made him a bit clumsy which is so refreshing and gives dimension to the character.   He is also pretty hunky (a requirement for a handsome prince) and I met him after the show he is delightful.  Everything you desire in a handsome prince.  My cheeks may even be blushing.

Finally let me say I loved the new take on the seven dwarfs.  There is Prof (Stijn Keuleers), Cheeky (Harrison Taylor), Stroppy (Willie Coppen), Dozy (Fatemeh Serebani), Snotty (Denise Coppen), Wiffy (Kate Meczynska) and Disney (Jessica Ward).  Although not the familiar names you remember, each character is clearly defined so you know who they are representing.  But I did laugh when Prince Fredrick accidentally called Stroppy Grumpy by mistake.  But with panto anything goes and we love a mistake. Oh yes we do!

Supporting all the fun and excitement of the story are some wonderful songs – a pick and mix so something for everyone including Sweet Dreams (are made of this), I’m Still Standing and an adapted version of Dua Lipa’s Dance The Night Away (The Barbie song).  Snow White is my favourite Disney story so I was delighted to hear Hi Ho and Whistle While You Work included in the show.  The jokes are well written, quick fire and really funny.  Sets are spectacular, especially how the dwarfs cottage opens up and the palace staircase in the finale.  The whole extravaganza is just wonderful and guaranteed to put you in the mood for Christmas.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 3 January 2024.

Note: I’d like to thank all the cast and staff for making last night a wonderful affair that I will talk about for the next year!  Aylesbury does it best!




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