Victoria Palace Theatre
Where: West End
21 December 2004 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews There may be seven real-life dwarfs in but there's only one Lily Savage, who is larger-than-life in every way and not just in comparison. Consider her Wicked Queen's jealous retort to the fact that Snow White has seven men in her entourage, but they're only small: "Stack them up and make one big one!" (In fact, one is actually played by a woman - the tiniest and most personally endearing dwarf I've ever seen - but we'll let that bit of sexual confusion pass: this is, after all, panto where androgyny rules.) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
It's the indomitable Lily Savage who is both the pulse and point of this panto. Returning to the show for a fifth time - since 1999, she's done Christmas stints in it in Birmingham, Southampton, Manchester and Bristol - she's poisonous, treacherous, villainous and hilarious. "Sit down or I'll hit you", she admonishes an unruly child. "Shut that child up," she tells the parents of another, "before I do." If only child care were always this easy.
But thank goodness that a big commercial panto can still marshal the forces and deliver a production that delivers real family entertainment. It starts with a real script, co-written by Lily's creator
Paul O'Grady, Tudor Davies, this show's executive producer Paul Elliott and its director Carole Todd, that provides a strong storytelling spine to the show, but also enough freedom for Lily's irrepressible wit. And director Todd and the variously charming company know the first rule for that wit to reign by: simply get out of the way! She takes no prisoners, except to hold the audience hostage to delight and a truly fabulous wardrobe (courtesy of costume designer Bob Morse).
- Mark Shenton
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