Christmas is once again upon us and what is Christmas without a festive Panto? I’ve always had really mixed feelings about pantomimes; I think they’re great in concept and design, but there’s something about the cheesy, slapstick nature of it all that I find hard to fall into, the way I can do with other plays.
That said, there’s definitely always a buzz when you go to watch a panto, one that’s hard to ignore. So it was with that, candy cane in hand, that I sat down to Mirror Mirror at the King’s Head Theatre, a festive…more adult take on the traditional Snow White story. This is the fairytale as you’ve never seen it before.
The plot is a nice twist on the original: Snow White is the poor widow of the deceased Barry White, housemaid to the seven dwarves and living in the kingdom of the Wicked Witch (Andrea Tweedale). Along comes the fair Prince (Amy J Payne) and his footman (Nichola Jolley) in search of a wife to live his happily ever after with.
This was very much everything you’d expect from a pantomime (though there was a severe lack of ‘she’s behind you’). John Savournin, who also wrote and directed the show, made for a great (tall) and northern Snow. His script flowed easily, it was fun and stood up there with any other panto tale.
However, it was possibly Matthew Kellett who stole the show. He played all seven dwarves which, due to copyright, had fantastic names such as Crabby, Gleeful, Half-Baked etc. He transitioned between costumes, characters and accents faultlessly and was a joy to watch on stage.
Of course you can’t have panto without a sing song. From rewrites of classics such as I Want To Break Free to possibly one of the best parodies of Uptown Funk I’ve ever heard, there were plenty of songs to get the audience singing in unison (and then of course there’s the obligatory final sing-a-long of Wannabe that I still have stuck in my head).
I’d just like to give special mention to the pair in front of me who were really going for it (I think they were panto alumni!). Also, whenever you include an S Club 7 song I’m sold, and they didn’t even change the lyrics. Christmas miracles all around.
What Mirror Mirror did show was how much punch a small boutique panto can pack. If you’re looking for some festive fun and you don’t want a lot of screaming children, pop along to the King’s Head.
A Snow White Pantomime runs until 9 January 2016.