Due to my being somewhat indisposed at the moment (read: bed bound with all of the winter bugs all at once) I disappointingly was unable to make it to the opening night of panto *insert boo’s here.* Luckily, I had the theatrical brain of @dan_townley on hand to take my place (and don a ginger wig) to bring you the latest in offerings from the Regent Theatre, Stoke.
It’s the Panto season again! (Oh No It Isn…too easy) which means theatre’s up and down our land are going to be full to the brim with Sleeping beauties, Lost glass slippers, flying carpets and giant beanstalks.
But at The Regent Theatre, they’ve opted instead for an evil queen, a hapless jester, a hilarious henchman and one magic mirror. Oh, and of course Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.
There’s always something special about the atmosphere before a panto that regardless of age you can’t help to feel giddy with excitement as you are waiting for the curtain to rise. This of course helps a great deal when you’re encouraged to boo and hiss at the Wicked Queen (Debbie Chapman) who begins by bad mouthing our city (HOW DARE SHE, THAT’S RESERVED FOR US POOR BUGGERS WHO LIVE HERE!) which again helps to fuel the boo’s and jeers.
Almost immediately after this we find ourselves transported to a birthday party where we have Snow White (Katie Elin-Salt)singing along to One Direction’s Live While We’re Young which automatically get’s the E-number fuelled audience on her side, helpful really, considering she’s the heroine.
By far the biggest reaction of the night came when Muddles, played by Hometown boy Jonny Wilkes took the stage with an array of one-liners that make you groan and laugh in equal measure. Wilkes is brilliant with the audience, encouraging us to shout ‘AUP MUDDLES’ when he appears on stage and when he’s coupled with Christian Patterson who plays Herman The Henchman it’s a recipe for one of the greatest double acts to grace Pantoland making the comedy seem effortless and spontaneous (maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t we will never know! That’s the joy of pantomime!)
Just when you think the show couldn’t get any better the introduction of some key characters (7 of them) adds a new dimension to what’s already on stage. I challenge anyone who goes to see Snow White not to sing and clap along to ‘Heigh-ho’ It’s impossible, and if you pass the challenge, you have no sense of fun. The 7 dwarfs were brilliant, each individual character shining through and adding to the comedy Prof, Grumbly, Blusher, Snoozy, Sniffley, Cheeky, but, I have to give a special mention to Paddy Holden who played the 7th (and for me the best) dwarf Loopy who didn’t say a word all through the play yet had the audience in stitches on more than one occasion.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs really is fun for all the family (cliché klaxon) and will have old and young laughing at the same joke but for completely different reasons, ensuring the true spirit of panto isn’t lost.
The Directors Jonathan Wilkes and Christian Patterson have done an excellent job with an excellent cast turning the script written by Eric Potts into a tiny bit of Christmas magic that SHOULD leave you feeling ready to face the rest of the Christmas period head on.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ME DUCKS!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from the 3rd December – 8th December and then recommences on 17th December – 5th January. Tickets are available online or on the box office.