It's big, it's bright, it's bonkers.
It's big, it's bright, it's bonkers. It's this seasons big Panto at the Theatre Royal. Featuring all the vividly garbed cross dressing madness that adults and sugared up children will enjoy in the glorious British tradition.
We were there for opening night, with a nearly five-year-old son in tow to see his first ever panto – Theatre Royal's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. What will he make of a torrent of toilet humour and slapstick? Will we be able to make it past the light up toys concession stands without a shake down for glowing widgets? Armed with a flashing windmill we headed up to the dress circle to find out.
As the Christmas songs faded the panto formula started, with a preamble from Muddles getting stuck into the gags and birthday messages, followed by the first of many introductions and routines. Not to mention the arrival of the seven dwarfs, in style in their yellow Rolls, who were now rebadged as the Magnificent Seven.
Sadly, towards the end of act one our windmill clutching lad bailed, despite laughter at Muddles tricks much of the toilet humour and adult innuendo was sailing over his head, perhaps the tone better pitched at the excited seven year olds in front. Just me then.
Son and daddy safely off, I returned to a spectacular song and dance routine from Snow White and the Dwarfs and the first half closed with an impressive flying car. It's the main difference with the Theatre Royal panto vs other local shows, a genuinely impressive degree of razzle dazzle in lighting and set bling, plus the presence of celebs if you know them. It's a far cry from my first Panto seeing Barbara Windsor as Aladdin - I still have the signed programme!
Worth noting how important the Panto is for the Royal Centre, the annual Panto is their biggest earner and basically pays for everything else for the rest of the year. No Panto, no theatre. Worth supporting.
I'll be honest I didn’t know any of the celebs, but they seemed to be well versed panto professionals. Fortunately from the excited whispering of the family behind us I learnt who Joe Pasquale playing Muddles was "that lad w' squeaky voice off telleh" and Faye Tozer "that lass offeh Steps" as Queen Lucretia. They knew their stuff, pro performers all. No wooden sportsmen in this show.
After a G&T and ice cream stop the second half saw more of the tweaked Snow White tale with the traditional nods to the city hosting the show. The sets were bright and bold in a very classic Disney look, as were the costumes. A special mention must go to the fabulous David Robbins for his spectacular and increasingly outlandish costumes and wigs, all created by his own fair hand, a pro panto dame! Fay Tozer also made an excellent panto villain as the glam evil Queen. She was energetic and physical and stole all her scenes, aided by an especially good rapport with Muddles.
Relative newcomers played Princess Snow White (Lucy Ireland), Prince William of West Bridgford (Jamal Kane Crawford) and The Spirit of Pantomime (Natalia Brown). Not to mention the troupe of Seven Dwarfs who had an incredibly impressive performance resume between them and kept spirits high with their capering.
It has been a good while since I saw a panto in Nottingham (I just had to see the Hoff when he was here) and this was quite a change. There was a great deal more put into the lighting than I have seen before, with the extras like the flying car and a huwge bed sized mirror with its own AV effects. The music was upbeat and enjoyable, the choreography carried out by a strong ensemble and plenty of fun at the end with the main cast members.
The Theatre Royal's 'Fairest Panto in the Land' Snow White was about as traditional as you can get, only with extra celebs. Bright and brash, with lots of laughs during its two 50-minute acts and an appreciative audience wanting more. Though my nearly-five-year-old bailed this time we'll be back, when his toilet humour is honed and he needs another flashing windmill.
You can catch a matinee or evening performance six days a week until 8 January. For anyone concerned about the volume and lights there is a relaxed performance at 2.30pm on Wednesday 4 January 2024. The Royal Centre also support the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme if you need support during a performance be that adults or children.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from Sunday 4 December 2022 to 8 January 2023 at Nottingham's Theatre Royal.
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