Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, co-authors of Snow White – Rotten to the Core, have evicted the dwarves and replaced them with a pair of bickering bears. It’s just one of the many twists and turns typical of the Above this Stag Christmas show, which fuses traditional pantomime characters and devices with outrageous, LGBT+ orientated social satire.
Shaun Mendum is a confident Snow White, transforming from lank-haired emo kid to sparkly-eyed twink with effortless charm. Briony Rawle is great value as street-smart domestic Taleesha, arguably one of Bradfield and Hooper’s sharpest creations to date.
As Queen Babs, Christopher Lane makes an eminently hiss-able villain, but it is Matthew Baldwin as Nanny who rules the roost here. A dame of intricate sophistication, Baldwin is both acerbic and subversive but never at the expense of the other performers.
Andrew Beckett directs his sixth ATS pantomime with invention and assurance, ably supported by Liam Burke’s whimsical choreography and David Shields’ inventive yet practical set design. Selling out its entire run a week before opening, this is a fitting final production ahead of the move to larger premises in Vauxhall in the new year.