Review: ‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’, Assembly Hall Theatre
I’m just back from the Assembly Hall Theatre and onto my computer to give you my hot-off-the-panto press verdict on Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs starring comedienne, actress and all-round national treasure, Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen. To put it succinctly – because I’m knackered! – I think you’ll love it. There, shall I go to bed now? What do you mean no?!
Most pantos cover all the predicable bases of including a couple of strong singers, a couple of strong actors (oh, a bridge too far?) a cross-dresser, (in this case Nurse Dolly Cough Drop) and core of well-drilled, over-extended backing dancers. This year’s line up at the Assembly Hall pretty much toed that line, with Millie Booth (Panto regular) as Snow White and Chris Warner Drake as Prince Charming very successfully sucking up most of the songs. But the real surprise of the night was Su Pollard’s fabulous singing voice. I’d forgotten of course, her 80s chart hit Starting Together, remember that?! Oh, come on.
Meanwhile, Jamie Rickers, of Citv and Nickelodeon, as Muddles the Jester, put in a high-energy, crowd-pleasing performance. This was a return to the Tunbridge Wells venue after his success as Buttons in last year’s Cinderella and, clearly feeling confident, his patter was as comfy as a pair of Uggs.
One thing to applaud in this panto is that both halves were funny. Often you get a brilliant opening act and then a sluggish finale or vice versa, but this one rollicked along quite nicely all the way through. And (please don’t circulate this widely) I left the theatre feeling, you know, a little festive and jolly. This was a very far cry from my mood at the beginning of the evening, as I took my seat, wearing a Scrooge-like scowl and only pleased to being going to the panto because it meant missing bathtime for my youngest mudlet who had to stay at home due to a nasty virus. So fair play to you Assembly Hall for blasting away all that silly pre-Christmas stress!
The headlines? Well Su Pollard stole the show, of course. (I mean this is her 37th panto – 37th!!) Game for a laugh – what other 67 year old do you know who would wear that leopard print nighty? (Er, actually, don’t answer that). Her hammed up baddie tries to seduce the Prince, an entertaining aside for the grown ups. Jamie Rickers did a sterling job (so much so he was starting to lose his voice by the end). Millie Booth makes a sweet Princess, knocking out a couple of songs with a very pleasant voice. So did the Prince, as well as bringing chiselled features to the party. The Dwarfs were fun and managed to take the usual toe-curling, vertically challenged jokes in good humour.
The old panto favourite 12 days of Christmas song, was entertaining as always. I won’t spoilt it for you but there’s one bit in particular that gets the whole crowd shrieking (partially with laughter).
All in all, a great success – fun for the kids, gratifyingly smutty for the adults, and also at two and a half hours from beginning to end, not overlong for smaller kids on an evening. A big Muddy panto pleaser.
Tickets still available and from £13 Children, £23 Adult. Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU, Tel: 01892 530613, assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk