Saturday, 24 December 2022

REVIEW: Snow White at The Old Savoy

The Old Savoy is a delightful Art Deco venue independently owned and deserves the support of its local community in Northampton. For this year’s Pantomime that support is secured by the inclusion of four teams of Junior Ensemble who must surely bring in huge friends and family audiences to see them. What is more is that this Junior Ensemble made the visit worthwhile as they are wonderful throughout. The four teams consist of seven dancers, six gymnasts and seven as the non-discriminatory modern interpretation of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs. Indeed, although they do project an image of Snow White from that cartoon over the proscenium at the start, this version could not be further from that famous film in its style.

The Super Seven are Diddy, Sussy, Sassy, Freaky, Windy, Wokey and the Guvnor but it is Wokey that keeps popping up to keep the show modern and on track. Her clever and very clearly enunciated interruptions seem to both highlight current politically correct statements while at the same time gently poking fun at them, keeping both sides of the debate satisfied! She explains that they “don’t believe that people should be given labels or named after physical attributes”, although Windy regularly reminds us of why she is so named. She says their names are “only acceptable because we say so”. When the Prince finally arrives to awaken the sleeping Snow White Wokey steps forward to stop him giving her a “non-consensual kiss” but then follows up when she is awake with a “fill your boots son”. 

Snow White is played by Ashleigh Butler with her latest dog Sully, and she provides two dog routines as part of the show in which you can’t help but like the relationship between them and the discipline, she exerts on the dog with the simplest of hand movements. Indeed, she shows more affection for Sully in her arms at the end than the Prince (Chris Wells) who saves her. Fern Roach makes a fearsome Queen deluded by Les Dennis in the mirror and her sidekick TikToker Patrick Lewin as Loathsome Linda.

The energy and comedy in the show is delivered by Mark Jones as Muddles (and the script writer) and Colin Ridgewell as Nurse Nellie with the best gags of the show being added in on the Dame’s entrance in nurses’ outfit of “I thought you were in strike” and a reference to Netflix and a story about a “boy kicked out of his family “ keeping it highly topical. They work the audience well with some old and traditional business. They even include the songsheet with three young children on stage although keep the chat short and get on with the song “Three smart fellas” which works well.

The group of Junior Ensemble we saw stole the show from their adult cast members with their well-integrated routines, confident delivery of their lines and excellent choreography by Rebecca Owens-Pounds was a joy to behold. The show trod the line well between political correctness and the silly irreverent humour that has been the essence of Pantomime for decades and as a result was a fun and enjoyable production. Curiously they run the show without an interval so one hour forty is a long act but generally it kept the kids in the audience engaged. It runs to 31st December but next year Cinderella open on 2nd December and is on sale now!

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Circle, Row BB | Price of Ticket: £14.50

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