Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Director Janet Featonby
Choreography Debbie Sutton
Music provided by backing tracks produced by Lisa Petherick & Phil Pugh
Pantomime is so very English and there is no other type of entertainment like it. The great thing about pantomime is kids and grown-ups can legitimately shout out and scream. The audience has to be an integral part of the production. Pantomime has it all; baddies, dances, songs, jokes, audience participation and a happy ending.
This community theatre group has a great audience following playing to capacity houses. The consequence of this is that the curtain can sometimes go up a little late to allow all the audience to get settled in.
Once again, the script was written by the director. All the characters of this well-loved fairy-tale were included, with one or two additions. It was not too wordy and contained plenty of “cracker” jokes and lots of audience participation.
The village hall was transformed into the magical world of pantoland. The imaginative tech team used the limited stage facilities to the full. The swiping of cloths in and out took the storytelling neatly into its next location with lighting enhancing the visual effects. It is hard just to rely on just backing tracks as pantomime musical effects can sometimes add so much to the fun of set pieces. This, however, did not stop the enjoyment of the musical content which was well executed. The splendour of the costumes which is so important and with this presentation, the company certainty ticked all the boxes.
The cast of twenty-one presented strong ensemble work each and character was ably supported by the others. To open the proceedings, and breaking down the fourth wall, Mary Cummins, as the good Fairy, delightfully narration brought the audience on board. Mary was also the face and voice of the mirror; she made an impact with both roles. The opposite of good is evil, and as the wicked stepmother Modesty, Tracy Cartright, complete with expressive hand gestures, cackled her jealously of Snow White, “the fairest in all the land”. Tracy earned her hisses and boos. Her servant Sparrow was played effectively by Anna Bennet.
Ann Pugh created a playful character as Nanny, keeping check on her son, Sparkplug. Sparkplug, the court jester, was the Buttons of this pantomime. He created a Wishy-Washy type role with loads of audience banter and a constant stream of those pantomime jokes. Daisy Hayes sparkled and soon became a favourite with the audience. Just a footnote, please be aware of voice levels.
In most pantomimes there are the “skin” parts; a cow, a cat, etc., but not is this production. Instead there was Banjo, a glove puppet dog. Banjo was operated by the character, Seraphina. Amy Dawber brought Banjo to life with humorous interplay. Banjo’s act 2 solo “I Think I Might Be a Dog” was quite a highlight.
We heard the anvil clanging and then they entered, the seven little miners played enthusiastically by the junior members of the group (average age 9).
Banished, and with Queen Modesty wanting her dead, Snow White found friendship and shelter with the Dwarfs. Emily Clewes had a relaxed charm as the fugitive, innocent stepdaughter.
Despite the audience telling Snow White not to eat the poisoned apple, she did and fell into a death-like sleep. This heralded the entry of the Prince (Dan Bennet), which, of course, meant that everything ended “happily ever after”.