The London fringe is awash with Christmas shows that not only provide a boost to the annual box office but also allow writers, musicians and performers an opportunity to experiment with this popular theatrical form. Charles Court Opera has been providing a regular pantomime to Islington residents for the last eight years. Moving from the Rosemary Branch to the more accessible King’s Head is a smart move, allowing an audience boost without losing regular patrons.
Mirror Mirror is the brainchild of artistic director John Savournin and skews the story of Snow White, with lots of contemporary humour, without sacrificing the central moral core. Savournin himself plays Snow White, widow of soul-singer Barry and having to earn her keep tending house for seven minor miners.
While the heroine as dame is unusual, the female principal boy is a remarkably acceptable blast-from the-past and played here with brio by Amy J Payne. Altogether it’s a tight ensemble featuring excellent vocalists, eschewing the classics for pop tunes with reconstructed lyrics. It’s a common practice but rarely performed with such skill or humour as here, and coupled with an inventive production design from William Fricker, Mirror Mirror might well be the boutique panto hit of the season.