Monday, April 22

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – New Wimbledon Theatre

Few pantos can boast such an illustrious cast as this production of Jonathan Kiley’s Snow White. Ruthie Henshall, Lee Mead, Brenda Edwards, Matthew Kelly, Dick and Dom -it’s a cavalcade of West End and TV talent.  And they deliver a wonderfully traditional panto with contemporary elements and twists. There are all the usual topical references and innuendo for the grown-ups, lots of naughty humour for adults and children alike, groan-worthy jokes to make everyone laugh, booing and hissing the villain, cheering on the heroine. This version of Snow White, while keeping the songs from the classic, updates them with modern pop orchestrations, adding contemporary songs into the mix.

The story is the well-known tale of orphan princess Snow White who threatens to outshine her wicked stepmother, Lucretia, as the fairest of them all in the land when she reaches the age of 21. On her 21st birthday, Snow White takes sanctuary with the “Magnificent Seven” in the forest to thwart the Queen’s plan. Lucretia then disguises herself as an old crone, visiting Snow White and offering her a poisoned apple. 

Ruthie Henshall is a glamorous Queen Lucretia who lusts after the prince and delivers a level of threat designed to scare Snow White without terrifying the children in the audience. That terror is left to the face in the Magic Mirror, a truly horrifying sight. Mrs Nelly Nightnurse (Matthew Kelly) is a vision of loveliness in a succession of ever more crazy costumes. Dick and Dom bring great fun as the court jesters. Modern pantos no longer have a “principal boy” played by a woman, but Lee Mead is a suitably charming Prince Lee of Lambeth, providing the opportunity for an audience sing-along of Any Dream Will Do. Hannah Lowther makes a sweet Snow White with a clear soprano voice. Comedy magician, John Archer’s Oddjob starts off slow, but picks up momentum in the second act with hilarious tricks involving a young member of the audience.

The entire cast is excellent, but the three standout performances come from Brenda Edwards as the Spirit of Pantoland, whose powerful vocals bring a real wow factor to the show. Then there are the “Magnificent Seven”, cleverly portraying the industrious dwarfs who keep Snow White safe in their fantastically designed woodland home. Last, but definitely not least, a round of applause for the ensemble, eight hard-working dancers who take on Paul Robinson’s energetic choreography with ease through a variety of roles. There are a few moments where the scene transitions could be slicker, but overall this show is a fast-paced take on a beloved fairytale.

Snow White is bright, colourful, loud, cheerful, and good wins out in the end.  Everything a panto should be.

Snow White is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 31st December.  Tickets are now on sale from:

Reviewer:  Carole Gordon

Reviewed: 6th December 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★