Brett Herriot Review

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Review:

A sparkling diamond of a panto

***** 5 Stars

What do you do when the home of Edinburgh’s Pantomime, namely the King’s Theatre closes for a two and half year major renovation and the good people of Edinburgh still need there panto fix? You move the regular panto gang to the simply beautiful Festival theatre; give them a spectacular London Palladium set, stunning costumes and a divine comedy script. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a sparkling diamond of a panto that ensures Edinburgh holds the crown for the best panto in Scotland!

Written by Harry Michael and Allan Stewart with additional material from Grant Stott and Jordan Young, the legendary regular team of Allan Stewart “Nurse May”, Grant Stott  “Lord Lucifer of Leith” and Jordan Young “Muddles” have truly delivered on the challenge of super charging the Kings panto while it’s on temporary loan to the Festival theatre. While the plot takes a back seat the story is still there and woven cleverly and clearly through the show and sits perfectly with the plethora of sketches that makes this a true variety spectacular.

Allan Stewart proves again why he is true panto royalty with his legendary Dame Nurse May bouncing on stage full of energy and with an outrageous collection of frocks. He is on a mission to get Edinburgh laughing and boy does he deliver. His onstage chemistry with Grant Stott is unmatched in British theatre, a relationship born of trust, respect and love; its warmth flows over the footlights. Stott once again is the baddest baddie in town although he has a fellow villain this year in the form of “Queen Dragonella” played to evil perfection by Liz Ewing. Stott’s Lord Lucifer is essentially the “man in the mirror” but evil to core, and I’ve never heard such resounding booing that filled the auditorium its only Stott’s vast experience that keeps it under control. Every panto needs a silly laddie, Snow White has “Muddles” played with sheer comedy joy by Jordan Young, he charms the kids with his “Hiya Pals” shtick but also has the adults roaring especially in a joyous adlib moment that even got Allan Stewart roaring with laughter.

Clare Gray returns as “Princess Lavinia” daughter of the evil queen, although she secretly harbours a good heart hers is the transformational journey of the show and she delivers it in style and her legendary father will be looking on proud that his legacy continues. Brian James Leys makes his Edinburgh début as “Prince Hamish” his rich tenor voice adding charm to his dashing Prince. Edinburgh born Francesca Ross makes her Professional Debut as “Snow White” and while underused she makes every moment on stage count.

A super charged show needs an equally impressive supporting cast so joining the stellar line of principals is the “magnificent seven”, Josh Bennett, Scott English, Andy Herd, Kyle Herd, Fergus Rattigan, Craig Salisbury lead in style by the wonderful Jamie John as “pop” his affectionate tribute to our first minister brings the house down and his blending of comic timing with the flawless Allan Stewart is a master class to watch.  They cast grows even further with a ten strong ensemble also added to the production who bring polish and style to Karen Martin’s beautiful choreography.

Production wise this is a pure west end affair, Ian Westbrook’s simply beguiling set was created for the London Palladium and it sparkles even more on the Festival stage especially under Howard Hudson’s triumphant lighting design that ensures not only the stage is lit up but the stunning festival auditorium glows too. Mike Coltman’s costume design is exquisite and oozes luxury class in equal measure. Special mention must go to Duncan McLean’s Video and Projection design with additional design by Ryan Dewar which really does add magic to Snow white. Speaking of magic those boys at Twins FX have wheeled the big guns out with no less than four massive special effects being deployed this year that leaves the audience gasping.

Director Ed Curtis helms what has to be the biggest pantomime ever attempted in Edinburgh and thanks to the regular team once again raising the bar this show truly delivers a slice of the west end in the heart of Scotland’s capital. Snow White has already secured its place in the Edinburgh panto legacy and you won’t see a better panto in Scotland this year.

It’s already confirmed that the Festival Theatre will host panto in 2023/24 but the title remains under wraps for now, but the challenge is already on to top this year, which is the most joyous of pantomime adventures that delivers real bang for your buck! So what you waiting for! do what you must to Heigh Ho your way to the Festival Theatre for those gold dust tickets!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Runs until Sunday 22nd January 2023 for tickets go to: The Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (capitaltheatres.com)

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