Tuesday, 26 December 2017

PANTOMIME REVIEW: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton

Most of the parents and some of the grandparents taking their children to the Mayflower this Christmas will have grown up watching the Chuckle Brothers on TV since their debuts on Opportunity Knock and New Faces and may have seen their stage shows over the years since. So they were familiar with their catchphrases and routines but despite both Barry and Paul having now turned seventy they will surely have been delighted with the effortless brilliant comic timing and delivery of this enduring double act. Judging by the audience reaction , the children too found them hilarious . The show provides a platform for them to perform some of their best routines including the song "We have got some presents", the Smelly socks game, the Strongman sketch, the Magic sword trick, and the Goldilocks and the three bears routine all of which they deliver with such ease and experience that even a sideways glance at the audience from Barry can produce howls of laughter from the two thousand plus audience. Of course this all has little to do with Snow White but is does not matter.

The pantomime story is driven along by Craig Revel Horwood as Queen Lucretia, the wicked queen who is the step mother to Snow White . He relies heavily on his Strictly Come Dancing judge persona, catchphrases and his arrival on stage is accompanied by the show's theme tune. His performance is alongside the amazing Twins FX effects including the Mirror that rises from the orchestra pit , a spectacular dragon and a scary Bat that flies out over the stalls. However he peaks in a wonderful rendition of "My Way" as the wicked queen is finally defeated. He is excellent but is so dominant it does not leave much space for either Oliver Savile as Prince Harry or Charlotte Haines as Snow White. The best sequence of the show without the headliners is the colourful and fun opening number led by Snow White and the Prince about Southampton and the Mayflower theatre which gets the show off to a lively and amusing start with its local references.

In each half we are treated to a street dance performance by Britain's Got Talent contestants Flawless, presented as the Queen's Men which gets a good reception from the audience but has little to do with the story. The seven dwarfs are played by actors on their knees which is amusing to start with but restricts their movement significantly so they never actually enter their house and they are never even individually named or show separate personalities. When Snow White finally succumbs to the wicked queen's ill endeavours, she is asleep for the shortest time ever in a pantomime before being awakened by the Prince. 

There are better Pantomime versions of Snow White in theatres this Christmas but thanks to the amazing performances of the Chuckle Brothers and Craig Revel Horwood, there are few that will entertain 2000 people so easily at every performance and delight generations of families so completely.

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★
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