Though a lot less lavish than other local seasonal offerings, the Albert Halls has a reputation for delivering quality pantomines. So it is a shame that this year’s production falls - to coin a phrase - short in comparison with previous efforts.
There’s nothing wrong with being rough and ready, but Duggie Chapman’s production feels lacklustre and under-rehearsed, lacking the zip to keep the audience - of all ages - entertained for its full running time. Only Bolton favourite Stu Francis has the skills to get the crowds off their seats and joining in - his many years as a children’s entertainer shining through in the raucous final singalong - and the show dips when he is offstage.
Snow White has always been an awkward fit for panto, with the genre’s traditional accoutrements watering down the power of the original fairytale. So it is a palpable relief when the dwarves - led by the engaging Trevor Jones as the daft-as-a-brush Loopy - turn up.
But the likeable septet highlights another big challenge - namely, how this version of Snow White can overcome standing in the shadow of the Walt Disney rendering, not helped in this production by the Disney Store cast-off costumes and a selection of songs confusingly taken from other films from the House of Mouse.