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Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 24th Dec 2010 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge


Steve Walls.jpg
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

Whitley Bay Playhouse

Well, the programme notes promise to “take the original ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ fairy tale and give it a new twist as only New World can!”  But, that rather ostentatious hyperbole aside, Whitley Bay Playhouse’s seasonal production has an awful lot going for it.

Okay, so it may not boast big-name star-signings, spectacular special effects and all manner of showbiz schmitz, but what it does do is provide a double-dose of festive fun for kids and adults alike.

The cast is, undoubtedly, led by the North East’s number-one comic Steve Walls who, as principal comic, Muddles, wins the entire audience over with his child-like charm and near-the-knuckle one-liners. Walls works the audience like a true professional and has a natural affinity with young and old. He is superbly supported by ‘Byker Grove’ actress Anne Orwin (who despite lacking the glamour of Anita Dobson, Lesley Joseph, Vicki Michelle, Linda Lusardi, and other more famous ‘queens’) plays the role of Queen Griselda perfectly.

Walls and Orwin are, in my opinion, the linchpins of this show and they are to be commended for their energy and enthusiasm, which never flags once. Lucy Dixon, from ‘Waterloo Road’, and Jonny Freeman, from ‘M.I. High’ play Snow White and Prince Florizel, respectively, and - it must be acknowledged - do their best with the most unrewarding of panto parts – principal boy and principal girl. Simon Barnard is a suitably stupid henchman as Herman and Hazel Pude completes the line-up of principals as the Forest Fairy.

The dwarfs are played by members of the ‘babes’ with recordings of adult voices dubbed in place of their own. Although this had the potential to go disastrously wrong, in this case, it worked reasonably effectively.

However, what really makes this pantomime a success is its faithful re-telling of a well-loved fairy tale. All the necessary magic ingredients are there – a bitchy baddie to boo at, a sweet, simpering Snow White, a proud and pompous Prince, a jovial jester, a hapless henchman a flirtatious fairy and a magic mirror.

It just goes to show that pantomime does not only rely upon big-names, big-bucks and big ideas to succeed. Instead, other production companies could do much worse than take heed and do what this show does - bring the magic and enchantment of the story to a new generation.

Steve Burbridge.

Runs until 3rd January 2011

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