What a revelation and a joy to see Strictly’s Mr Nasty set himself up for criticism by taking to the stage as the Wicked Queen. Yet despite laying himself open to negativity, it is in fact hard to fault his performance and hugely satisfying to note that not only is he excellent in the role but he can also sing and dance with remarkable panache.
We have seen actresses play the Wicked Queen in Qdos pantomimes before with delicious malevolence but Craig Revel Horwood brings drag into the equation which puts a whole new perspective on the role. Brilliantly directed by himself and cleverly written by Kiley and Davies, the nuances of satirical drag subtly combine the Venus scene from Priscilla Queen of the Desert with the more traditional evil stepmother role which the children can relate to.
Len Goodman’s virtual appearance as the mirror is inspired, Ann Widdicombe’s Widdy in Waiting is a surprising good stooge and Steve Hewlett’s Muddles is excellent with his ventriloquism act that reaches across all age groups. Shinead Byrne is picture perfect as Snow White with Ashley Day as the dashing Prince William and Will Banyard as Harold the Herald.
There are some magical moments such as the snowfall just prior to the interval and the walk down finale costumes are beautifully designed.
It’s a resounding score of “10” for this production.