Richmond Theatre, London – until 5 January 2020
Guest reviewer: Nicola Louise
It seems like yesterday I was sent to review my first pantomime, but here we are again a year later. This time its Snow White at Richmond Theatre where the stars are big and – evident from the multitude of advertising and glitzy theatrical splendour – so is the budget.
We all know the story of Show White and how she was ordered to die at the hands of her evil stepmother; and this story is no different even if it does start a little unusually. Prince Harry arrives at the palace where Snow White is due to celebrate her 21st birthday, as childhood sweethearts they’re drawn to each other once again after having been apart for so long.
James Darch is great as the charming Prince Harry, with a pantomime hero look about him. Mia Starbuck is as sweet as Snow White can be, with her flowing black hair and porcelain skin she glows with beauty and shines when she sings.
Pantos by nature are a bit cheesy, especially with the panto prince. However, this isn’t the case with Richmond’s production. Both Snow and Harry are not your typical panto heroes, some may say this won’t do but as a lover of pantos for many years, I feel this gives it an edge above the others.
Jason Sutton as the Dame is as funny as ever, along with John Clegg playing Muddles, the son. The pair are a great double act who bounce off each other with chemistry that sparks on stage.
Some may remember Clegg from Britain’s Got Talent where he wowed audiences with his talent for impressions and it isn’t hard to see why. Clegg’s rendition of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ where he portrays a range of different characters is something I did not expect and is an excellent moment in the production.
Each year Richmond has a big name to draw people in to it’s festive offering, this year its Jo Brand as the evil Queen Lucretia. As funny as she is, her incredibly dry humour often feel misplaced within the tone of this panto. However, Brand’s ‘I don’t care’ attitude brings something new to the show and is certainly entertaining. The director and producers have clearly worked around Brand’s lack of singing talent and focused more on her wit, a stellar choice on their part.
Like all Pantos, there’s a mish mash of popular music, in this case Ed Sheeran amongst others. Some songs seem out of place and a bit cliché, as if the writers are trying to reach out to the teenagers in the crowd, so to say ‘look, we’re hip as well’.
With a talented bunch of actors and great performances from the 7 men who portrayed the Dwarfs, (this year Richmond opted for tall actors rather than go for actual Dwarfs), this show protrudes enough sweetness and glitter than you can shake a stick at.
Fun for all the family and even the little ones get involved at the end.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is running at Richmond Theatre until Sunday 5th January 2020
photo credit: Craig Sugden