Tuesday, May 28

Snow White – Rainhill Village Hall

Director Karen Woods has kept the spirit of the season alive – oh yes she has! – as Rainhill Musical Theatre company sing us into the New Year with their take on this famous fairy tale to a live musical accompaniment led by Musical Director Wayne Oakes.

The kind and beautiful Snow White (Michelle Williams) lives happily in the village of Applebury with Muddles (David Stevens) and his mother, the Dame (Dru Fitzgerald), and other villagers (Fiona O’Gorman; Ryan Greenall; Emily Boycott). Her wicked stepmother, the evil Queen (Sarsh Johnson) is jealous of her beauty and with the assistance of Helga the Hag (Claire Heaton) decides to do away with her. Can fairy Riff (Megan Charlton) and Mirror (Dianne Glover) stop her in her tracks? Will the miners (Ruth Gibb; Annie Topping; Liam Fitzgerald; Charlotte Orme; Rachael Bancroft) be able to give her safe refuge? Or will it take a Prince (Dawn-Louise Wright) to truly save the day?

With Oakes on keyboard supported by Paul Taft (guitar), Kev Bates (bass), and Amy Gray (drums), we got off to a resounding start and with over twenty musical numbers at their fingertips, they had the audience tapping and clapping throughout the evening as well as the cast.

Williams, Wright, and Johnson have set the bar high here for some time now and tonight was no exception with strong acting performances accompanying their renowned strong vocals, and they were well supported with strong stage presence from D Fitzgerald and Glover who both bring great pedigree to this company.

Our five miners – clearly a consequence of the current practice of shrinkflation – delivered some great slapstick skits and sketches with good routines to accompany their musical numbers.

There were three standouts with strong all-round performances that enriched the moment each and every time they hit the stage.

Stevens is a seasoned pro with a strong panto background, and he brought all that experience and some to his performance tonight with strong acting, great audience interaction, and some of the worst jokes you will ever hear, and which panto demands. Top that with a fine voice and a beautiful rendition of Joker to the Queen and you couldn’t really ask for anymore.

Charlton has been bubbling in the background for some time and tonight seized her moment in a lead role to shine with fantastic acting, clever comic timing, and some beautiful singing. Wings or no wings, nothing was going to stop her flying tonight.

What to say about Heaton? She’s always had an impressive vocal which tonight was matched by an all-round fantastic performance – staying in character and accent throughout – with superb comic timing and delivery. Hag? A company heroine from where I was sat!

I also have to make special mention of O’Gorman, Greenall, and Boycott who, whilst in supporting roles, were on stage more than they were off it, and brought great energy to their own strong performances including leading the audience with the Community Song.

Whilst Woods’ set design worked on the premise that less is more thus allowing Stage Manager Andy Topping to oversee seamless changes, I liked the little details such as an owl which in conjunction with some fantastic costumes from the cast and great choreography from Claire Jones, Bryan Dargie, Charlton, and Williams, made the whole feel complete.

Perfect for young and old alike, Snow White the Panto performs at Rainhill Village Hall with a mix of matinee and evening performances:

Friday 19th January @ 7.30 pm

Saturday 20th January @ 12.00pm and 6.00pm

Sunday 21st January @ 12.00pm

Tickets are available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/merseyside/rainhill-village-hall/snow-white/ or for further information https://www.rainhillmusicaltheatrecompany.co.uk/

Reviewer: Mark Davoren

Reviewed: 18th January 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.