This Snow White is super folky fun
Norwich Theatre Royal
Think Heidi, think The Sound of Music - for this panto we are off to the mountains of Norwichovia (or similar) where the local village folk are all very cheery, clad in lederhosen with ribbons in their hair.
The curtain rises on a snowy landscape which is agreeably Christmassy and the story of Snow White is laid out - an incognito prince looking for a sweet-natured bride.
However the hills are alive with evil - as Queen Evilynne plots to kill her rival and reclaim her “fairest of them all” reputation.
I didn’t have high hopes for this Alpine offering given that its last Theatre Royal outing in 2008 was among my least favourites.
However fear not, it is lots and lots of fun.
Within minutes I was booing a snowman, cheering a goat and singing about a bra I had seen on TV.
Snow White (Norwich girl Amie Howes) with her ever-beaming smile absolutely looks the part and David Burlin as Prince Frederick is an excellent singer, the best in the cast.
All the acting is good and Brookside’s Jennifer Ellison is pleasingly evil as sneering Queen Evilynne.
Some of the song choices may not connect with a younger audience although they do throw a Little Mix number into the err mix which my children enjoyed.
There are the usual gags about Portman Road, Holt (the better place), and Great Yarmouth (If Primark built a village..) and some topical references to the likes of Lady C.
Muddles (Ben Langley) who at first seemed something of a demented leprechaun is the stand-out performance, fizzing with energy. Writer and director Richard Gauntlett is brilliant as ever as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling (When you’re at death’s door I’m here to pull you through!)
Overall it is genuinely funny and just the right amount of silly with barely a double-entendre to trouble young minds.
There are some nice technical touches with BBC’s Stewart White on screen as the mirror inviting us to turn to the mountains yonder and Look East, where else? The action is pacy with plenty of scene and costume changes and no twiddly thumb bits, not even for my husband who can find panto hard going especially when the romance element is overdone, which it isn’t here. Our party were divided over the use of puppets for the dwarfs and certainly their scenes were a bit static and no Hi Ho, Hi ho-ing, but some of us loved them. But oh my word the audience! If this review was for them it would be five golden stars for enthusiasm.
And there were lots of booming dad voices in there too making for a brilliant atmosphere and some gusty yodelling.
Overall its super folky fun. The thigh-slapping cast were clearly enjoying themselves and we did too.
Greta..Greta...Greta..Greta..Greta..(repeat to fade). You will understand when you see it, and really you should.
The show runs until January 17. Call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk.
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