It’s always an advantage when the panto director is also the writer, because they pull the very best out of the script. And Andrew Ryan’s script is a nice one, a perfect vehicle for a small and talented cast, exuberant dancers and a very engaging line-up of dwarfs.
I can’t imagine anyone doing sweeping disdain better than Tupele Dorgu, whose Wicked Queen would be at home in some executive boardroom, firing the directors en masse. Her big number is I Wanna Be Evil. She looks fabulous, moves well and the audience love to hate her as much as they love to love Mark James’ clumsy, childlike Muddles. It’s a marvel how he gets through The Court of King Caractacus without tripping up.
He’s well paired with Charles Burden’s demure Nurse, whose bedtime strip of a thousand garments (or so it seems) is the funnier for being done deadpan. Nia Jermin is every child’s idea of what Snow White should be, and Nick Walton is a strong and robust Prince. Highlights of lively song and dance numbers include a variation of Twisting the Night Away with the full cast. When they’re all on stage together, they exude a happiness that warms.