It’s that time of the year again – oh, yes it is – when theatres up and down this fair land come alive with laughter, groans, screams and (my worst nightmare) audience participation.
Sunday evening at the Hull New Theatre was no exception as the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs paid our city a visit.
Being the 5pm showing meant it was the perfect time for tots and youngsters to attend, and by the sound of their shrieks and laughter all around me, they were thoroughly enjoying themselves – as were the grown-ups who accompanied them.
It took a while for those in the packed audience on Sunday to “let rip”, but when they did, it was panto mayhem.
The glittery scenery throughout wasn’t just lovely to look at, but also created the right atmosphere without being too overbearing.
This well-known tale of good (Snow White – Faye Brookes) versus evil (Queen Lucretia – Poppy Tierney), began with the Queen looking into the magic mirror to ask “who is the fairest in the land?”.
Her evilness knows no bounds when the mirror dares to tell her that Snow White is the fairest, so she plots to kill her young rival, with the help of unwitting court jester, Muddles (Neil Hurst).
She makes him drink three potions which will give her complete control over his actions, forcing him to kill Snow White at her upcoming birthday party.
It’s here that the youngsters in the audience loudly shouted out their warnings to poor Muddles, not to drink – but their cries fell on deaf ears.
Poor Snow White is oblivious to all the evil and just wants 21 kisses from the love of her life, Prince Harry of Humber (Corey Mitchell) at her birthday party.
Instead, she takes a bite out of the red apple the Queen (disguised as an old lady in the forest) gives her, and promptly collapses, dead as a dodo.
However, a kiss from her prince brings her back to life and all’s well that ends well.
This production didn’t feature a huge cast, but all on stage that night played their part in entertaining us.
Space prevents me from naming everyone, but Hurst as Muddles was the glue that held it all together. He made us laugh, got us up on our feet, singing, dancing and dodging the liquid that shot out of his water pistol.
Nigel Ellacott as Nurse Nigella, dressed in the most outrageous costumes on the night, was everything you would imagine a pantomime dame to be.
Poor “James of Anlaby”, sitting in one of the rows at the front, caught Nigella’s eye and that was it – there was no escape for him.
But it was the seven dwarfs who always got the most laughs whenever they appeared, due to their amazing costumes. I have seen something like it before, so was really hoping they would make another appearance and I wasn’t disappointed.
The three musicians in the Hull New Theatre band played with gusto, creating the right atmosphere – as did the lighting, the “snow” that fell and the regular references to all things Hull, which always raised a laugh.
Pantomime isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – you either love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it.
Running until Sunday, January 2nd, 2022 (no performances on Monday, December 13th; Friday, December 17th; Saturday, December 25th, 2021 and Saturday, January 1st, 2022). Times vary. Tickets cost from £16.50, concs available. For more information or to book, call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk
Reviewer: Jackie Foottit
Reviewed: 12th December 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★