By Lucy Chipperfield
After months of following them around Thurrock on their whirlwind promotional adventure, it was finally time for our favourite panto stars to transport us to the magical world of Disney in a Bruce James Production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Thameside Theatre.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is undoubtedly one of Disney’s finest moments. Not only was it Disney’s first full-length animated feature film with colour and sound, but it also established a timeless film genre which would home hundreds of adored princesses forever.
Originally based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs follows Princess Snow White on her journey to ‘live happily ever after’. Unfortunately, the evil Queen Morgana is incredibly envious of Snow White’s striking beauty and the threat this will have upon her power in the Kingdom. Menacingly she decides to murder Snow White in a bid to remerge as the ‘most of fairest of them all’. Luckily, Snow White escapes from the Queen’s first murderous attempt, and is forced to flee into the forest for her own safety.
Whilst hiding in an enchanted forest, Snow White discovers a small and friendly little cottage where seven even smaller and even friendlier dwarfs live. However, Queen Morgana isn’t fooled and knows Snow White is still alive. So, disguised as an old lady and holding a poisoned Braeburn, she ventures into the forest to find Snow White and do the deadly deed herself!
Can Prince Rupert and the dwarfs save Snow White in time? You will have to go and see the panto for that answer, as well as to see lots lots lots lots more!
By far, this year’s panto is spell-bindingly brilliant and is a real Christmas treat for the whole family! In fact, it is so awesome I would bet that the grumpiest mood hoover in the entire land couldn’t sit through this magical production without smiling at the contagiously happy performances on stage.
The wonderfully witty and charming script, written by Debra James, truly captured the essence of a proper panto without losing any of Snow White’s original warmth and loveliness. From start to finish, every single scene, sketch, line and word has been carefully considered to make sure this panto is seamlessly entertaining and enjoyable for everyone in the audience, whatever their age. Of course, what makes this excellent script shine so well is a combination of the superb music produced by Tim Whiting, the excellent choreography provided by Sallie Warrington, and not forgetting the incredibly talented panto cast that bring it to life.
Catriana Sandison’s wonderful performance as the lovely Snow White astounded the audience; so too did her amazing singing abilities! I imagine to play a character like Snow White there is always the pressure to make sure you portray the perfect princess who is liked by all. However, Catriana needn’t fear, as the moment she walked on stage the theatre lit up and she won the hearts of the audience instantly.
Although Queen Morgana is essential very bad, I would never say the same for Steph Parry’s performance as this wicked Queen. In fact, she was so brilliantly scary, I (a twenty two year old adult), would admit I was frightened by her convincing cackling performance! Again, her excellent singing abilities received a roaring applause and it was a real delight to watch her portrayal of the evil Queen Morgana.
James Campbell’s outstanding performance as Muddles was simply exceptional; so was his collection of wacky hats. Bursting with an incredible amount of energy from start to finish, it was clear that James had put his heart and soul into his performance. So, there is no doubt in my mind when we all say ‘Aye up gang whose the best? M.U.D.D.L.E.S!’.
And of course, there is the one and only, Dame Dolly Jollybottom! Having met Miss Dolly during the panto’s promotional adventures, I got the inkling that she was ever so slightly the extrovert, and so accordingly I had high expectations for her performance in the panto. However, not only did Mark Siney’s brilliant performance meet these expectations, but they exceeded them at super duper speed! Nothing could have prepared me for the array of sparkling and spangling outfits that were showcased on stage. Neither could I have wished for a performance funnier as the one Mark created. Dame Dolly Jollybottom is, and forever will be, a panto legend!
I would also like to acknowledge the excellent performances from Ellis Kerkhoven as the charming Prince Rupert and Joe Connors as the menacing Boarzo. Both portrayed their characters brilliantly and complimented the panto family wonderfully! Further congratulations has to go to the most adorable dwarfs I have ever seen and to Sammy Andrews, Helen Bennett, Amy Carlin, Olivia Koewius, Matthew McNulty and Scott J Smith – whose incredibly talented dancing, acting and singing routines were exceptional!
On behalf of YourThurrock, I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in this years pantomime. It has been a real treat to follow your panto adventure and your stories have certainly added some magical sparkle to the YourThurrock website!
Without a doubt, everyone should pop down to the Thameside Theatre this Christmas and see this perfect panto. There are plenty of magical surprises that will give you lots of Christmas cheer this year. I can also promise that once you have seen it, you will be ‘happy ever after’!