Brett Herriot Review

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Review

**** 4 Stars

 Indeed the Fairest Panto in the Land

Newcastle Theatre Royal is rightly seen as the jewel in the panto crown of the North East with regular trio of Danny Adams (Danny the court jester), Clive Webb (Oddjob) and Chris Hayward (Queen Dragonella) now notching up 16 consecutive pantomimes between them.

Last Years “Humpty Dumpty” was cancelled, and the subsequent “Robin Hood” scheduled for the spring never made it to the stage either, but finally the panto dream team are back with a big and bold Snow White that sees a switching up of casting gives the production a fresh feel.

Danny Adams is the form of his life, delivering mad capped slapstick comedy with a deft touch and pouring outrageous amounts of energy into his performance his talent is the clue that holds Newcastle together. He truly understands the art of pantomime zooming for sketches, to magic tricks and incredible costume changes that even sees him pop up In stockings and suspenders to hilarious effect. Clive Webb continues to bring an old-world charm to his character but it’s clear a complete line dry is showing it might just be getting harder each year for him.

The most Glamorous of Panto Dames Chris Hayward has gone bad, very very bad and plays the Baddie this year and is simply wonderful at it, gone is “Hello me bonny bairns” and in comes a wicked cackle of a laugh. He provides the right touch of evil while never going too far to truly terrify the kids. Most importantly hayward has a well-earned reputation for his frocks being out of this world and that continues this year with a collection of Frocks to knock the eye out.

Joining the regular headliners this year is X factor and Newcastle own, the gorgeous Joe McElderry as The Man In The Mirror delivering a slew of pop hits in his rich tenor voice and shows he is well adept at panto comedy too and he never takes himself seriously. A good job, one of the draw backs of this year’s offering is the constant gags on Joe’s sexuality we would have hoped panto had move on enough to not to rely on a steady stream of such jokes. That said the same applies to the overuse of “willy Gags” in the production hence the dropping of star.

Also back is Mick Potts “Idiot” previously it started to feel tired, but the time off has benefited him and its feeling fresher than ever and his timing is spot on. Regular baddie Steve Arnott has gone good as Dame Nelly Nightnurse very much a Les Dawson inspired dame it’s wonderful to see Steve in a new light and he shows the dame is well within his repertoire. Carole Stennett’s Spirit of the Pantomime is a joy with a voice that thrills she truly enriches the show. 

Snow white is played with Charm by Kirsty Ingram and her beau Prince William of Wallsend falls to fellow regular Wayne Smith. There both underused but shine when they do appear. The same can be said of the magnificent seven who top and tail Act 1 and thankfully feature more in act 2. The production also carries an 8 strong ensemble, so all told Newcastle has an impressive 26 strong company.

Ian Westbrook’s Set is a fairytale come true and sparkles under Ben Cracknell’s lighting design. Teresa Nalton’s costume design (with specialties by Mike Coltman) is charming hitting the right tone of childlike wonder but not too Disney.

This production boasts a wonderful score with Musical Director Richard Atkinson (even covid precautions have been taken with the band with Richard having a Cover MD Harry Thomson waiting in the wings just in case) leading a powerhouse 5 piece band.

Director Michael Harrison and Choreographer Alan Harding have truly brought a spectacular, glitzy affair to the Theatre Royal and ensure it’s a production which lives up to the standards of the jewel of the Northeast and with the announcement that 2022/23 will see the London Palladium production of Cinderella come to Newcastle you can bet things will just keep getting better! As for Snow White it is indeed the Fairest Panto in the land!

Crossroads pantomimes present, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Theatre Royal, Newcastle Runs until Sunday 9th January 2022, for tickets go to:

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