Snow White at New Wimbledon Theatre
It is panto season time and Snow White at New Wimbledon Theatre was my first panto of the year and luckily it got me off to a good start!
The first thing that struck me about the pantomime was the stellar line up of the cast, with musical theatre royalty such as Ruthie Henshall playing Queen Lucretia and Lee Mead playing Prince Lee, reality tv stars Brenda Edwards playing the Spirit of Pantomime and John Archer as Odd Job, actor/presenter Matthew Kelly as the dame, the children’s favourite Dick and Dom as the Court Jesters and finally Tik Tok Star and musical theatre performer Hannah Lowther as Snow White!! The show really used each of these stars and really played to their strengths, we had Lee Mead singing the love songs, Ruthie performing big musical production numbers, Dick and Dom with silly routines and getting the audience onside and Brenda Edwards belting out ‘Finding Pantoland.’
Hannah Lowther was a warn Snow White who put her musical theatre training to great use with her solos and duets with Lee as well as really shining when she got to dance. John Archer was also incredibly enjoyable as OddJob. He put his magic skills to use and managed to incorporate them with some wonderful comedy moments, whilst some of the gags and tricks were predictable for some of the adults in the audience the children around us loved it. Lee Mead is every inch the perfect prince with a cheeky glint in the eye throughout and gave the audience what they wanted by singing ‘Any Dream Will Do.’
Ruthe Henshall threatened to steal the show every time she appeared on stage with her incredible stage presence and she was given 2 big numbers which I adored. We also had the magnificent 7 who were our 7 Dwarfs, performed Lord Farquad style on their knees. One slight note on this is that in 2022 it feels a little uncomfortable to see dwarfs played like this and that there must be a better solution? Putting that to one side each dwarf was given a different character but they didn’t have a huge amount of stage time and I would have liked to have seen more of them, especially between them and Snow White.
Due to the amount of stars that needed their moment on stage the pace of the show was quick although the majority of act one was spent introducing all of our key characters.
The panto tried to add a plot twist or two into the traditional version of Snow White, firstly it had to find roles for all of its star cast but later on when this had been established it was the Prince that took the bite of the poisoned apple and it was Snow White who had to save him. I enjoyed this twist and actually prefer pantomimes now when they are clever in combining the traditions with a fresh take on the shows. I also think the writers missed a trick not referring to Hannah Lowther’s Tik Tok fame, from throwing in some of the viral dances or some gags about it would have helped make it more relevant to her. Generally there could have been more fresh ideas and element in this show as many of the gags and jokes felt a little tired however for those new to the wonderful world of panto I’m sure that they didn’t have this complaint.
As always the visual appeal of the New Wimbledon pantomime is top notch. The costumes sparkle wonderfully under the lights and Matthew Kelly appears in ever changing dame costumes, ensuring the audience are laughing every time he enters. The lighting design by Richard G Jones helps add to the magical pantomime feel, when this is layered on top of the magical talking mirror and the fact that it snows inside
If you are looking for a traditional pantomime with everything from a white wedding walkdown to all of the traditional pantomime characters then you can’t go far wrong with Snow White at New Wimbledon Theatre.
Snow White at New Wimbledon Theatre is running until 31st December. You can find out more on their website.