At the height of the festive season and with snow falling over Merseyside there is no shortage of shows for shoppers to shun the cold for with their kids in tow.
So the big question for the Liverpool Royal Court is if there is room for another panto as they stage Snow White with Tina Malone from Shameless as the Wicked Queen?
Local Lydiate lass Lizzie Warburton won an open audition for the title role role and tries to prove to Malone’s truly frightening stepmother that might is always fairer than the Wicked Queen. That’s the view of our man in the Mirror which in this production is played really well by another bit of local talent - Craig Phillips the first Big Brother winner.
With the help of Herman the Henchman (Nickelodeon’s Jamie Rickers) the Wicked Queen tries to do away with our heroine and have Prince Rupert (James Waud) for herself to solve her money problems but Fairy Liquid, played by local radio personality Leanne Campbell, is having none of it and leads the fight back.
The beautiful interior of the Liverpool Royal Court really suit the magic and you feel transported to panto land pretty quickly with the surprisingly good sets. But the atmosphere feels rather flat and the overall performance does not manage to change that.
You certainly wouldn’t mess with Malone’s Wicked Queen, Fairy Liquid is suitably magical and in Warburton you feel they have unearthed a real talent – at least vocally. But not all of the cast are as strong all round performers as other shows in the city especially with the Dame (Chris Crookall) who is severely under-used.
Liverpool legend Pete Price as Muddles, with a suit of Echo headlines, plays the role very sweetly, although the goading of the audience to join in feells a bit much after a while! Another problem is the dialogue, as it is often lazy although the scouse-isms when they are used are welcome and the ‘diva-off’ between Fairy and Wicked Queen is hilarious.
Both act finales are worth the very reasonable ticket fee but Mickey Finn and the 6 children as dwarves who all had their voices dubbed seems incredibly bizarre. By the show's close, as Price encourages the audience to “shout louder so the people on the buses outside think we’re packed in here”, the answer is clearly that there is enough room for another panto but this Snow White just isn’t strong enough.