Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Snow White And The 7 Dwarfs Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne

Note the panto is on from 12th Dec 2008 - 11 Jan 2009 so if you haven't booked already do so now as it is already heavily booked and it is well worth seeing with a terrific cast.
Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

CAST (In order of appearance)

Shona White - Fairy Goodapple
Nicole Faraday - Queen Narcissia of Sovania
Stefan Booth - Prince Simon of Sofaria
Carl Patrick - Herbert Vore The Huntsman
Niamh Perry - Snow White
Martyn Knight - Dame Delores Dingbat


Dan Cooke
Jessica Philips
Gabriella Antrobus
Courtney Boyle
Robert Jones
Amy Ross
Alice Burton
Gemma Taylor

+ Students from The Deborah Lamb Theatre School

A bit sad to admit that at our age this was the first panto we'd ever seen on stage but it was. But hey at least it was a first great experience.

Directed by Chris Jordan and written by Chris Jordan and Ian Marr the resulting panto is a good mixture of the traditional Snow White story whilst including modern popular hit songs and a mixture of stand-up and slapstick comedy.

It sounds like a bit of a mish-mash that may not work. But work it does - from the beginning to the very end which is another pop music medley and I won't say from what artist or era so as not to spoil the fun for those who haven't been.

There are superb vocal performances, some good picking-on-the-audience moments, fantastic costumes, the usual 'he's behind you' type incidents, a strangely entertaining side-show involving a 'dead' stage crew member (don't ask...... it's far too complicated and I simply haven't got the space here) and even something involving soap suds, rubber gloves and a conveyor belt and dwarfs that are almost as tall as Snow White.... nobody can accuse this show of not having variety!

Now for the artists:

Shona White (left) and Nicole FaradayShona White - we were already members of the Shona White 'fan club' having already seen and met her this year in the fantastic musical Shout. Snow White is very different to Shout but Shona makes a perfect Fairy Goodapple who's side job to granting wishes is to keep the show flowing, both through rhyme and song, which she does beautifully and she looks wonderful too! (incidentally for those who are wondering Shona would probably wish me to assure all reading this that her after-show purply-blue-do is actually a wig (at least that's what she said )

(My review of Shout is under 28th April 2008)

Nicole Faraday - As my wife said how can somebody who looks so beautiful play the evil, nasty, vile Queen? It is true though no matter how horrible and vile she is meant to be to poor Snow White she still looks lovely.

Well aside from being the best looking nasty-piece-of-work in Panto Land how does TV Bad Girl (mmmm..... I see a theme running here!) Nicole's performance stand up?

She was utterly brilliant is all I can say - she's not only a powerful actress both on TV and stage, vocally I found her incredible. I'd gladly go and see Nicole again any day.

With herself and Shona taking time out to chat to us at the Friends Of The Devonshire Park Theatre after show meet-and-greet it was a pleasure meeting two of the friendliest, down to earth artistes around.

Stefan BoothStefan Booth - We could kick ourselves now for not having seen Stefan when he was touring in Summer Holiday.

Having now seen the superb singing and acting talent of Mr Booth in a Pantomime I can now see what a great show Summer Holiday must have been.

Stefan is really turning out to be a real jack-of-all-trades talented entertainer. TV soaps, drama's (The Bill), ice skating, musicals, pantos. It seems that there is nothing Stefan can not do well.

And on top of that he does a heck of a lot of valuable work for the charity World Vision.

As the Prince Stefan is......well...........as you would expect Charming!

And that's how he is off stage too - a lovely, friendly, easy going, guy. My wife thought so too... can't think why..... although I told her she really needed to wash her face again one day!

Niamh PerryNiamh Perry - The second former I'd Do Anything contestant we'd had the priviledge of watching and meeting in a matter of weeks. Although Snow White's costume is understandably much more conservative than Samantha Barks skimpy outfit in Cabaret she really looks the perfect Snow White.

Niamh's performance as Snow White is as you would expect Snow White to be - ever so sweet (ahhh!), singing and dancing merrily amongst the giant dwarfs, waiting to be rescued from the (still beautiful) evil Queen, Nicole, and to be kissed at the end by Stefan Booth (I wonder if she regards this as business or pleasure?)

Martyn Knight - I've alway's wondered why on Eastbourne's Panto posters Martyn Knight is there year after year 'Back by popular demand'. Demanded by who? And Why?

Well now I know both answers - By everyone who's ever seen or booked him and because the guy is very very funny - especially in drag! In this Panto he plays Dame Delores Dingbat - a woman of many colouful outfits who has the audience in hysterics throughout the show.

I should stress that the talented Martyn does plenty of 'straight' stage acting too and hopefully we'll get to see him out of his frock sometime in the future.

Carl Patrick - Funny guy number 2 working very well alongside, the aforementioned, Mr Knight. The comedy flows well between these two. And remember that crew member 'death'.... watch out this character could be bad for your health!

This is now Carl's 3rd year in Eastbourne. It isn't hard to see why.

Eastbourne theatres seem to know when they've got a good funny-guy and with a pairing like Knight and Patrick I wouldn't think they'd want to lose them in a hurry either.

The Ensemble

Credit must go to the all singing and dancing ensemble (named above) for working so hard throughout the show and for providing great entertainment.

Not forgetting the many students of The Deborah Lamb Theatre school for their young talented pupils who took part.

The Dwarfs

As I have already mentioned the dwarfs are rather big. Probably because on this occasion they are not played by human dwarfs but by some rather courageous 8 year old's togged up in some rather hot, bulky, but very impressive costumes.

These kids deserve a lot of credit for performing well in outfits they could barely see through and which must have been quite heavy to move about in. Well done little people for bringing the bigger little people to life!

This really was an excellent show for young and old. The entertainment is great, the talent is excellent and the scenery changes, of which there are many, are quick and impressive with the sets being beautiful too.

Any critisisms? Only one which may seem pathetic to some.

We couldn't really see why the writers decided to change the names of the dwarfs from the movie originals. For example Dopey to Dippy, Sneezy to Allergy.

I can't see that changing these names really added anything to the show. In fact for any kids who loves Snow White I felt they may feel a little sad at this change.
I know that many things are changed in Pantos for the sake of entertainment and to keep things up to date. But this little change may make some a little Grumpy (or is that Grouchy?)

However the odd change of names is my only trivial winge and whether you have kids, are young, or old it doesn't matter. It's British stage entertainment at it's best and a good deal better for you than sitting in front of the TV watching repeats of The Great Escape whilst stuffing mince pies!!

Book it now before all the seats go!

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The reason the Dwarves names are changed for Pantomime is usually due to rights issues. Disney holds copyright on the names it gave to six of the seven Dwarves in it's film. Disney are known to actively pursue theatres infringing copyright.

  3. Thank you very much indeed I appreciate you clarifying the reason. But how sad it these days that even a panto has to tread carefully for fear of litigation.


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