21 January 2012
There is nothing like a Panto after the turkey and the Christmas crackers have all been forgotten or stored away for the next one (obviously not the turkey, that would be wrong!)
Snow White in its normal format of Disney wonderfulness would be great to sweep away the January blues and get the year onto a brilliant start. Not for the Westovians though. Philip Meeks has been drafted into writing/putting his slant onto the annual panto offering for the South Shields amateur theatre company.
The Panto follows the fairytale of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, but in this case the dwarfs are adults who have been bewitched by the evil Queen Malicia (Rachael Walsh) and doomed to grow, in the forest, gradually younger until, when they are no more, then the Queen can lay claim to their diamond mine.
All the sparkle, fun and glitter of a family pantomime is all encompassed here with the traditional bloke dressed as a woman (The brilliant Stephen Sullivan as the Dame Hattie Dimple) and vice versa (Kylie Ford as Prince Alexei). Along with the wonderful costumes, dancing children and madcap happenings on stage, the audience took over some of the proceedings with some superb vocal throwbacks. One particular child in the front row, took centre stage with verbal humour, asking questions and leaving his mother shocked at the funny interruptions-all of this having the audience in fits of laughter. The members on stage coped brilliantly with this 'out-of-line kid', coolly answered his questions, again to uproars from the crowd.
The deviation from the original script really worked well, with some sparkling scenes that had the children and adults in the sell out crowd smilling and laughing all the way through.
The 'mirror mirror' scenes were particularly memorable with the Joker in the Mirror (David Foster) harrassing the already fraught Queen over the beautifulness of Snow White (Natasha Haws).
Of course the beauty of any pantomime is the booing, the hissing and the crowd participation. Chuckles (Craig Richardson), the Dame's son really let himself go, with all sorts of jokes, innuendo and colourful antics, that the kids loved.
Denver Codling (director) and Amy Harris (producer) sorting out the 30 plus on stage must have had their work cut out, but it all came together really well, with some great acting, as always the behind the scenes lighting (Ian Johnston) and sound (Peter Codling) was spot on.
A fun and entertaining pantomine that just about had it all.
Snow White runs until January 28th