WATCHING a pantomime 51 days after twelfth night, when the Christmas decorations have been safely tucked-up in the loft for a month-and-a-half felt quite surreal to begin with.
But – although it was (unavoidably) less festive – Snow White at Droitwich’s Norbury Theatre was a fantastically fun family show.
In fact, with plenty of very funny topical jokes about the Prime Minister, office parties, ‘cheese and wine’ (you get the picture), you could argue the Covid restrictions added to this show and gave it elements it would not have otherwise had.
Among the hilarious highlights in the first half – as well as the impressive almost one gag/one-liner-a-minute – were the songs ‘If I Was Not In Pantomime’ and ‘The Song That Goes Like This’.
The pandemic-themed former was fast-paced with plenty of slapstick in true panto style and the latter cleverly poked fun at those slow songs both in this genre and other stage shows and musicals.
With so much comedy – and poignant moments – you need a strong cast and this production definitely had one.
The cute, cheeky dwarfs bounced off each other brilliantly with their lines and actions, while Merie Eglesfield as Fairy Fortune added that sugar sweet ‘good’ element whenever she entered the fray.
Molly Hill as Snow White and Nathan Wilde as Prince Ferdinand acted well and were both pitch-perfect in every song. The pair delivered the most touching numbers of the evening and you could hear a pin drop in their solo numbers – On My Own and ‘Til I Hear You Sing – each one concluded with rapturous applause.
Tony Boardman and Emma Waters as Justice Quill and Scribbles were a perfect pairing and got plenty of laughs from a very vocal audience.
Merlina ‘The Mirror’ was beautifully played by Vicky Moloney. As well as the ‘fairest of the land’ rhyming couplets, she had plenty of humorous hold up cards and props to keep the audience giggling every time they glanced her way.
Jimmy Hill as Chuckles and Paul Steele as dame Edna Bucket epitomised what panto is about, enjoying plenty of banter with those watching (so raucously hilarious was it, they struggled – but managed to – keep straight faces at times).
Nigel Payne grabbed a few laughs (and a few ‘ewwws’) the evil queen’s brow-beaten but kind-hearted servant Slurp, arriving on stage each time with his ‘soiled’ toilet brush.
And multi-tasking Melanie Brown produced the show and also worked the audience well as evil Queen Avarice, earning plenty of boos whenever she set foot outside the wings.
Completing this winning panto formula – and all playing their part – were the senior ensemble, junior ensemble, young dancers and always-flawless orchestra.
After the forced delays, Director Andy Brown should be very proud of his cast and behind-the-scenes team for delivering this superb show in very difficult circumstances.
There were laughs start to finish from the near-sell-out crowd this production deserved.
If you have not yet seen it, make sure you catch one of the final performances.
And if you have seen it, the good news is, the delays mean there’s only 11 months until the next Norbury panto – oh yes there is.
The remaining shows take place at 7.30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 3 to 5).
Click here to book.