Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Enthralls a Seasonal Crowd.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Theatre Severn

29th November 2017 -7th January 2018

It seems like yesterday since I wrote the article to launch the Shrewsbury Pantomime it was in fact 12th September, where did that go? Now Panto season is upon us again and Shrewsbury have once again given the audience not only the longest running Panto in the UK but a show that is gag for gag probably one of the best shows in the country. They have done it again.

Romping happily to Paul Hendy’s hilarious script, the show jogs along at a great pace observing all panto conventions and making a few of their own on the way. Panto has a reputation for being a little bit eccentric and as utterly British as fish and chips. But there is nothing eccentric or corny here. Hendy knows humour and his script is pitted with some absolutely rib ticklingly funny one liners, that any comedy writer would die to have written. Paul stays very much in the background but his writing speaks volumes about his skills and theatrical ability.

Sporting the two favourite ol’ timers Brad Fitt and Eric Smith; Brad completing his 17th year and Eric his 14th, this show is just a must see show event. Call it the hottest ticket in town and that is not wide of the mark. If there is a funnier man in the world than Brad Fitt he is yet to emerge. One would apply the same comment to Eric Smith, the two know each other well and share an on stage professional intimacy that only time and experience can engender. The panto wouldn’t be the same without them. Long may they serve!

Great comedy timing is a gift that not many have, when you see it wielded with such aplomb one is simply awestruck. Brad has “funny bones,” and would make the telephone book seem hilarious. Eric’s character is so much fun and one wonders if his toes go all the way to the end of his curly shoes. Priceless.

There was some welcome changes to convention as they have dispensed with the girl playing the Principal boy and Oliver Watton’s well observed Prince was a welcome change. Matt Dallen's new take on the "Buttons" character now called Muddles won the children over immediately, and the grown up's just a little bit after. He was energetic, talented naturally funny and beautifully cast. 

Snow White was stealing hearts throughout the auditorium as Victoria Mc. Cabe played the role she seems born to play. Such a lovely Snow White, as she should be. Her singing is strong and enjoyable and her characterisation is spot on.

Queen Ivannah (Wicked Step Mother) was played so fiendishly  by Joanne Heywood and she earned all her boos and hisses. She was quite a scare and when she talks one to one with the audience one believes that she could actually carry out her horrible plan. It does seem extreme to kill someone for being prettier than you. Where on earth were the Brothers Grimm when they came up with that narrative? A truly tremendous performance.

As for the Seven Dwarves they were brilliant. One is aware that some theatres don’t always chose their Dwarves for ability, more for the fact that they are dwarves. No such nonsense here. These guys were an incredibly skilful and highly motivated team. They were on the ball in the dancing in the singing and acting to. When Cheeky, played by Craig Garner, sang his sensitive song about his love for Snow White and his inability to reach her. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was truly tender and rather beautiful. They were all a theatrical triple threat and created highly entertaining action. Their CV’s read like a who’s who of Hollywood, quite literally. Anyove ever heard of Star Wars or Willow? Only two of the most iconic movies of the 20th century. Say no more!

Costume deserves a special mention. The show is dressed so beautifully. Brad’s ever changing outfits were both funny and spectacular. How he fits so many change of costume in one show is a feat of pure stamina and he deserves a special mention for that.

The Pantomime uses theatricality more than a whole host of other disciplines do and to sit back and watch the theatre working magically, the beauty of the flies silently moving into place and the twinkling of the sky cloth give a majestic feeling to the theatre and one is proud to watch it operate fully extended and getting it just so right.

There was space on stage and there needed to be; the energetic dancers filled it wonderfully and brought a very special feeling to an already magical show.

Worthy of a mention too is the very big surprise one gets as Queen Ivannah’s magic mirror comes into play. I will not tell what happens for fear of spoiling it. All I can say in the way of clues is buy a ticket and go and find out.

Well done Theatre Severn, you have brought to this town over the last twelve months shows that people want to see. Proving to be one of the towns greatest assets it is a pleasure for a lowly reviewer such as I to see those shows and to talk to people about them, as I do. Regular readers know I don’t go off piste but hey, its Christmas and I want to extend my warmest seasonal wishes to David Jack and the team at Theatre Severn. Thanks for another great year. But of course most of all my thanks goes to you yourself, for reading me and hopefully enjoying what I say. You might not agree but that’s Theatre for you.

Last year I took the unprecedented step of asking you to share and like my panto review. We got to nine hundred on the counter and I don’t know how it did on twitter, probably more? Let's take it over the thousand.

So Happy Christmas dear friends have peace, fun, love and unity in equal measure and I will see you all next year. Don’t forget to like and share, let’s between us fill the theatre for every one of the 60 performances. They deserve it.

This is most definitely a Five Star Review

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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