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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs review at Pavilion Theatre, Worthing – ‘pop-filled commercial panto’

Chesney Hawkes as Prince Benedict in Snow White at Pavilion Theatre, Worthing. Photo: Worthing Theatres Chesney Hawkes as Prince Benedict in Snow White at Pavilion Theatre, Worthing. Photo: Worthing Theatres
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Worthing Theatres’ annual Christmas show has established itself as a pop-filled commercial panto with some of the spirit of community theatre.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs stages hits by the likes of Rag’n’Bone Man and Little Mix while cracking local jokes about Portslade. It features national talent – the comedy duo from CBeebies’ Swashbuckle, Jo Brand (on video) as the Mirror – as well as dozens of local children as the dwarves and forest fairies. This year it also has the nostalgia factor in the form of Chesney Hawkes, who plays Snow White’s royal suitor with a red electric guitar and a face that doesn’t appear to have aged a minute since 1991.

Hawkes is curiously humourless, even when being propelled across the stage on a skateboard while sending up Rick Astley. He’s also out-sung by X-Factor alumni Niki Evans as Queen Grizelda and Cassie Compton as Snow White, with their impressive solo takes on Nina Simone’s Feeling Good and Queen’s Somebody to Love. But when he dutifully whips out The One And Only at the start of Act II, Chezza justifies his position on the festive cheese board.

Simon Howe, as the Dame, is built like a brickie and fairly workmanlike with his gags. Subtler, or at least more creatively silly humour, comes from Richard David-Caine as Griselda’s German henchman “und” tax collector, ‘Orrible Herman. Meanwhile, painted scenery and fabric projections shift us from throne room to forest to diamond mine, laying down just enough fairytale atmosphere beneath the Top 40 sparkle.

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Superior panto serves up big pop numbers with a Chesney Hawkes-sized helping of cheese