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Review: Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, by Daniel Buckroyd, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, until January 14

PUBLISHED: 18:06 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:06 04 December 2017

Dale Superville, Antony Stuart Hicks - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman

Dale Superville, Antony Stuart Hicks - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman

© Robert Workman

The Colchester Mercury clearly know that they have got a pair of panto superstars in the infectiously funny Dale Superville and Dame Antony Stuart-Hicks and have harnessed their talent for comic mayhem for another Yuletide adventure.

Carli Norris - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman Carli Norris - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman

However, this year this pair of ad-libbing funsters have been given a stunning villain to bounce off in the form of former EastEnders and Holby City actress Carli Norris, making the comedy and the personalities even stronger and giving the panto some extra zing in the process.

Dale Superville plays Snow White’s accident-prone best friend and trainee footman Muddles while Antony Stuart-Hicks is his long-suffering mother and Snow White’s governess Nurse Nellie.

Snow White may be the fairest in the land but she also has a wonderful singing voice and Megan Bancroft brings just the right amount of sweetness and innocence to the role, making what could be a rather twee heroine into someone the audience could actually root for.

Megan Bancroft, Junior Chorus - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman Megan Bancroft, Junior Chorus - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Colchester Mercury - Photo: Robert Workman

Any panto involving Snow White begs the question how is the production going to deal with the Seven Dwarfs and writer- director Daniel Buckroyd has the inspired notion to go down the Muppet/Avenue Q route and has a quirky collection of puppets to play the eccentric collection of pint-sized miners.

Although you can clearly see the puppeteers working them, you quickly forget they are there as the puppets have so much personality that it’s easy to accept them as genuine members of the cast.

Designer David Shields has provided the actors with a wonderfully inventive world to inhabit. Everything is heightened and exaggerated as you would expect in a fairytale world and the mix of lighting effects and stage design needed to create the wicked queen’s magic mirror is superb.

But the heart of the panto is the dynamic between the evil queen, played with real audience-bating relish by Carli Norris and the double-act of Muddles and Nurse Nellie which is always delivered with a genuine sense of fun. The trio had the audience screaming at the stage as they invited the people of Colchester into a world of larger-than-life characters and where good triumphs over evil in a really entertaining fashion. A dazzling treat.

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If you haven’t sent Santa your Christmas list yet, pop tickets for this festive-fuelled fairytale on it first.

It’s not Christmas without a visit to Red Rose Chain’s The Avenue Theatre. We spoke to writer and director Joanna Carrick and actors Emma Swan, Darren Latham and Ryan Penny about The Elves and The Shoemaker.

A great panto starts from the moment the audience enters the auditorium and starts looking at the set laid out before it. Arts editor Andrew Clarke talks to designer David Shields about the art of creating a larger-than-life panto world

DanceEast is staging the premiere of a new dance-theatre production of the children’s classic The Borrowers. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to director Jane Hackett about putting dancers in the middle of an animated world

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Robert Wright throughly enjoys Dick Whittington, this year’s panto offering at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal

Cockney fun Fairy Pearl promised us she would take us to “a world of pure imagination”.

The Colchester Mercury clearly know that they have got a pair of panto superstars in the infectiously funny Dale Superville and Dame Antony Stuart-Hicks and have harnessed their talent for comic mayhem for another Yuletide adventure.

A pantomime being put on in a north Essex village is bringing members of the community together – and raising money for charity.

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