Every year I try to see one pantomime. This year I was invited to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Shaw Theatre, near Euston. I can truthfully say I was the only audience member without an accompanying child!
All the typical panto elements are in the show, the evil queen to boo at, the innocently pretty girl to pity, the handsomely dim prince and the funny dippy clown. I was most impressed with Andy Fleming as the joker, Muddles. Aside from being a fantastic impressionist he is natural on stage and improvises most skilfully. Unfortunately the rest of the cast make the production feel rather amateur. Snow White played by previous EastEnders star, Madeline Duggan is so awkward on stage it is uncomfortable to watch her. She wanders around with little energy and seems to barely know what she is doing. Duggan’s singing is mostly in tune, but sounds very childish and unrehearsed.
The Prince is played by Danny Rhodes who featured in the TV programme ‘Grease is the Word’ as a semi-finalist. He too is dull to watch, however makes up for it vocally, his voice is strong with a nice tone and he sings with an ease that reassured me that there is some talent in this production. The adorable little dwarfs are the highlight for me, jumping about the stage with massive heads on that make them look a bit like teletubbies. They mime along to pre-recorded voices which surprisingly works well.
The music is bearable and the dancing is better than average, despite feeling a bit out of place at times. I noticed quite a few parents texting on their phones during the performance, but most importantly the children in my audience seemed to enjoy the show. I’m sure several of the little ones were feeling rather tired by the end – it lasted for a staggering 2 hours and 45 minutes, much too long for a kids show. There were some classic responses from a few particularly confident (and loud voiced) children. One screamed ‘kill her!’ when we were asked what should be done with the Wicked Witch; absolutely hilarious at the time.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs continues at the Shaw Theatre until 3 January, 2011.