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Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The new version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Chris Jordan and Ian Marr has enough elements familiar from the Disney animated classic to please the traditionalists (and small children can be even more traditionalist than their elders!) with some quite clever up-dating. The two principals – Katie Rowley-Jones in the title role and Daniel Boys as Prince Simon – have good voices and engaging personalities; you feel that they hardly need Fairy Goodapple (Clare Rickard as a very Mummerset sprite) to keep them on the path to eventual wedded bliss.

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.


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