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Review by Jade Gadd
As a reviewer always should be, I’ll be honest. On paper, as a show, Snow White should have been an absolute disaster. But this wasn’t just any show; this was a Pantomime. A cliché filled, funny and fun Pantomime. And as such, it can be forgiven for many theatrical sins.
In terms of the singing, the audience had mixed views here. The actors’ singing abilities varied drastically, but that’s to be expected when a member of Collabro is playing the Prince and the Evil Queen’s backstory includes Liberty X. The production was jam-packed with pop songs and references. I loved the “Something Else I’d Like To Be” routine. It had obviously been rehearsed more than some of the other elements. Some songs went on for way too long, unfortunately. The audience lost their enthusiasm. There’s only so long we need to hear “Our House” for. Just a hint would do.
Including nimble young children and experienced adults, the dancing scenes were beautifully choreographed. While the routines added nothing to the storyline, they did give a Christmassy enthusiasm to every scene. One major criticism I have to say is that you can tell they only rehearsed for a week. While, individually, each element was good, it felt disjointed. Each person seemed to be somewhat distant from those around them. There was very little connection, or reaction, when other characters were saying their own lines. Sadly, I think even Panto can’t excuse this. But not to worry, it wasn’t major. In fact, it made the whole thing its own brand of cheesy, and if a Christmas pantomime can’t be cheesy, I don’t know what can be.
I thought the decision to use people with Dwarfism to play the Seven Dwarfs was an interesting casting choice. Personally, I think it was an awesome decision! I say good riddance to the days of shoes on knees and short jokes. The world is moving forward, and with it, equality. At the same time, I do think that the acting quality was perhaps lowered by the fact there aren’t that many North-Eastern actors with Dwarfism to choose from. That said, while at times, some of the actors weren’t up to Neil Patrick Harris standard, it was definitely good for a Pantomime.
The costumes were brilliant. Not quite Theatre Royal standard, but good. I really enjoyed the wardrobe malfunctions. Dame Dotty Donut’s Christmas tree hat fell off once, revealing his… ahem… I mean her, shiny bald head. The mistakes were the funniest parts! The sets were stereotypical fantasy-village/evil-lair. I liked the glitter. It was the best part of the entire experience for me. Every pantomime needs glitter. My one criticism here would be the length of set changes. Everyone waited patiently for the first half, but towards the end children became restless waiting for the show to start again.
I would say that the ticket was a little overpriced, but it was a good quality experience overall. Given that this is a family show, I would expect it to be a little less, as for a few adults and a couple of children it cost rather a lot, especially for some young families. This is a huge shame given the Pantomime’s target market.
But – on at the beautiful and quirky Tyne Theatre and Opera House – this performance is suitable for all ages and, overall, it was a bit of fun. I’d go again.