Only three years ago, Paul Holman presented Snow White at this theatre. Surprisingly, here we go again. And why not? In today’s credit crunch with seats priced from just £9, the box office is 20% up.
The seven little men are almost overlooked, with young dancers wearing face masks doing the honours. For legal reasons, the Happy and Sneezy names are taboo, as are the Hi Ho and other music classics.
Not that any of this distracts from the enjoyment. That is mainly due to an excellent all-round cast who work hard, smile a lot, and relish the challenge.
The final product emerges as a fun show packed with one-liners ranging from panto traditional, excruciating, and that’s worth a laugh. Not a sophisticated bone in it.
Yet it works delightfully. The costumes are colourful, the sets eye-catching, the sound level a tonic.
The comedy, relentless in their case, is safe in the company of a new duo, Jason Francis and Neil Wheatley, who change their gags to stay topical. They are on their way.
Antonio Fargas, once Huggy Bear in TV’s Starsky and Hutch, is doing his third pantomime and revels in every scene. He may be playing a villain, but you cannot hate a man who tries so hard.
And one long round of applause, please, for Nikki Kelly (Wicked Queen), Russ Spencer (Prince Richard), Olivia Sloyan (Snow White, and making her pantomime debut), Simon Rashford (Dame Dolly) and Kate Carrington (Fairy).