Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre)
But it is Sue Holderness as the most boo-able of Wicked Queens and Paul Laidlaw as Dame Dolores Dingbat (aka Dolly) who dominate the evening. Holderness can put over a song-and-dance number with the same assuredness as she consults her magic mirror and carries out her various felonies. Laidlaw, who also directs, is a warm Dame, snapping in and out of a fine array of costumes and dragging up nicely for the show-stopping “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend" number. Chris Clarkson is Herbie, the vegetarian huntsman and Dolly’s hapless son.
Some of the favourite elements of panto are there – the kitchen scene, the McGuffin in the corner, the song-sheet, “it’s behind you!” and so on, but they never last long enough to distract from the actual story. The Magnificent Seven play Snow White’s small helpers with a very funny Dad’s Army routine and look like a shoal of miniature Henry VIIIs for the walk-down. The sets, both full-stage and against painted drops, look good with some excellent effects and the costumes are in attractive colours, predominantly greens and purple with crimson and gold for the finale.