Review: Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, by Daniel Buckroyd, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, until January 14
- Credit: Robert Workman Photographer
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.