Snow White and the Magic Mirror is a return to more traditional pantomime at the Lichfield Garrick - and one which is definitely a winning formula.
Set in deepest, darkest Transylvania, the production tells the classic Brothers Grimm tale of the princess Snow White and her wicked step-mother Queen Evelyne, who will stop at nothing in her quest to be fairest of them all.
Katie Marie Carter is an excellent Snow White; pretty, vulnerable, charming and sure to win over the hearts of little girls in the audience as well as those of the dwarves, cleverly portrayed by seven Geordie puppets. Ian Adams, who also directs the show, is on top form as a dame in the role of Fraulein Von Strudel, and along with the Chester The Jester (Greg Bernstein) provides most of the adult laughs and all important audience interaction for youngsters - oh yes he does!
The orchestra, sat in the backdrop of the stage, are fantastic and the sets which change countless times over the course of the production are simply magical. Daryl Armstrong makes a dashing Prince Harry, and Chelsea Flain is excellent as the all-seeing magic mirror.
But the undoubted star of the show is BBC Midlands Today presenter Joanne Malin as the menacing Queen Evelyne, who is clearly relishing the chance to go back to her theatrical roots. Malin is a vivacious villain with a cackling laugh, an envious list of witty one liners and a host of stunning costumes that would leave Lady Gaga in the shade. Backed by the lovable troupe of Snow White children she helps bring the splendid choreography to life with a host of toe-tapping routines that make the production a must-see show this Christmas.
And plaudits to the musical director Adrian Jackson for a stunning soundtrack which is best exemplified in the grand finale; a musical theatre style combination with clear inspirational nods to the Rocky Horror Show and Sweeney Todd to name a few. A simply outstanding festive treat.
Snow White and The Magic Mirror runs at the Lichfield Garrick until January 5.
- Fiona McCartney