Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs is the Panto offering for Woking this year at the New Victoria Theatre.
There are many expert opinions on Panto but luckily this year people are all sick of experts so you get to read mine instead (just when you think everything has gone mad you see a selfish benefit – every cloud ‘n’ all that)
Star and Director of the show Warwick Davis has such a varied and high profile acting career and attracts a wide range of people to check out panto who before, might not have considered it – a young couple behind me talked about Star Wars alot….all the way through, luckily Panto is translated as ‘right noisy play’. I think Warwick (can I call you Warwick? I feel I know you) has become what is known as a national treasure, certainly borne out by the reception he got when he came on stage as Prof – chief dwarf of the seven who kindly took Snow White in without hesitation, seeing before them a person in need who has had to flee their home because of threat of death. What a great tradition that is – isn’t it?
The thing about Panto is it’s the one time that something is designed for audiences of every age and background. Sometimes they are full of stunts, effects and surprises, and others, the dialogue carries the audience along weaving double entendre into the words that leave kids looking puzzled at their parents spitting out their smuggled sweets laughing (“bring a big bag and put your coat over it” one woman said who I wouldn’t recognise at all in a line up if pressured I am merely observing not judging). This was most apparent with Herman the Henchman (Andy Ford) for example he experienced a ‘touching cloth’ moment after being surprised by Muddles (Chris Cox). Most of us wouldn’t find a henchman who attempts murder of a young woman a sympathetic and hilarious character but Andy Ford manages to get the audience on side in this unlikely scenario and digs deep to bring out his softer side to help mind reader and jester Muddles save Snow White. Andy Ford is very funny, delivery of the lines is done in a cheeky gentle way ‘I’m doing this show at two levels pick the one you want to watch’ and when Muddles refers to getting a wall built ‘see that? – satire – you don’t often see it in Panto’.
This year we are treated to a variety show in the old fashioned sense, still the sumptuous costumes, hissing and booing at the baddie – Anne Smith’s vampish portrayal of Queen Morgiana had the right amount of villainy in it’s cariacature. The ballet scene in between was powerful and moving and the audience interaction enthusiastic. Chris Cox demonstrating his mind reading skills on a member of the audience mid show. Each of the Dwarfs had a party piece for a Moravia’s Got Talent show and the shadow statues – Distraction! were really funny.
This years Panto is well written and funny and Warwick Davis does a great Las Vegas era Elvis as well. With his earlier rendition of Always Look On The Bright Side of Life and Snow White ending with the words ‘Good has triumphed over Evil I knew it would’ it does what Panto does best gives a glimmer of magic on daylight and who can be cynical about that?
Apart from cynics of course but what are they doing at Pantos anyway?
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs is on at the New Victoria Theatre until 8 January 2017 www.atgtickets.com/woking