A WELL-DESERVED standing ovation awaited the 70+ cast which staged this superb Snow White at Bromsgrove’s Artrix.
There were so many highlights in this show even before the dwarfs made an appearance on the stage and when they did they had the ‘awww’ factor as well as delivering some very funny lines.
The slapstick kitchen scene was absolutely hilarious, featuring an exploding microwave, the audience getting soaked by a water pistol-wielding dame and even an impressive tap-dancing routine that said dame – Senna Pod – joined in with whilst singing ‘Fry Me to the Moon’.
David Mann, who played Senna, was fantastic throughout. In panto I always say ‘a groan is as good as a laugh’ and he got the lion’s share of those with all his terrifically timed one-liners – almost like stand-up in parts as the gags came thick and fast.
His scene with the gorilla, the prince (well played by Connor Winter) and the Valet (Archie Marks) in the second half was definitely one for the adults with some beautifully delivered innuendo and double-entendre.
Tanith Garcia took the ‘evil’ role to new heights as Queen Drucilla – she revelled in the boos as she nonchalantly strut across the stage frequently exchanging unpleasantries with the crowd and even other members of the cast.
Graham Forbes made the role of the magic mirror his own and had the audience in hysterics every time he made appeared. Dave Healing as Neville the Chamberlain was his perfect foil – the two had a great rapport which led to loads of laughs.
You could see Anja Parkes was relishing playing the title role as Princess Snow White and she also had the magical musical moment of the evening in the ‘Count On Me’ duet with Ciara Lane as Rose. The two were pitch-perfect and harmonised magnificently together.
Elsewhere, Ken Messenger as Hans the Hunchman, Rachel McDonnell as Fairy Light, James Ralley as Muddles and Neil Lane as Barry Trotter and Vanessa Morgan as Hannah all put in solid performances.
There were plenty of Brexit jokes (as you would expect) and some great local references as well – including the dwarfs being concerned about ‘the Chancellor of the Exchequer taxing them heavily on the gains from their diamond mine’.
And, of course, we cannot let this review go by without mentioning A&S’s trademark UV light show which always delights when it takes the production into the interval. It seems to get better every year.
In the same way the Queen asks if she ‘is the fairest of them all’, we need to ask if this was ‘director Alison Berrisford’s most flamboyant panto of them all’ and do you know what? I think it was.