Sunday, 7 December 2014

Nottingham Theatre Royal

There is glamour, glitter and gloss galore in the Theatre Royal panto The same as any other year but for some reason this year seems to be a notch up from the last few years and I can't put my finger on why this is. It is great entertainment with a wonderful cast of Lesley Joseph as the Wicked Queen and Sam Attwater as Prince William of Wollaton, the good looking hero of the story. Emilie Du Leslay plays Snow White. Fast becoming regular Theatre Royal performers are Andrew Ryan as Nurse Nelly who got so many costume changes, I lost count but each one more outrageous than the last, and of course Ben Nickless, this year as "Muddles".

Ben and Andrew make a wonderful pairing for comedy, Ben's style being reminiscent of many of the comedy greats from years gone by like Freddie Starr in Ben's Elvis send up section, and Joe Pasquale with many other comedic titbits. Mssrs   Nickless and Ryan not only manage to keep the kids basic humour flowing but also manage to go just above the kids heads and entertain us older kids as well. No mean feat but with their years of entertainment behind them, they make it appear so easy to do.

Lesley is deliciously evil, goading the audience by criticising local areas such as Radford, Mansfield and Clifton but always remembering to not take herself to seriously in her evil role. Sam can carry a song and manages the simple choreography deftly enough, but doesn't push any boundaries for him. Oh there is also appearances by fellow "Bird Of A Feather" Linda Robson as the voice in the mirror, highlighting Lesley's comic timing in these scenes.

For some reason the role of Snow White didn't really stick out for me and I found Lesley's Wicked Queen the most watchable character of all of them, but hey you can't have Snow White the panto without Snow White can you?

Slightly disappointing was the fact that none of the dwarfs were dwarfs. They were seven actors on their knees. Maybe they are in short supply?

The special effects were brilliant though and it really was quite scary when the Evil Witch rose from the ground and appeared to drift out over the audience, as too did the dragon!

Great choreography, lighting and effects, but the sound from the live orchestra, directed by Allan Rogers was at times a little on the loud side and sometimes drowned out Sam's singing, so that may have needed a tweak or two and pulled back, but all in all a really enjoyable panto. My personal main highlight was Lesley, Sam, Ben and Andrew performing, what is now a regular feature in the Theatre Royal pantos, the "12 Days Of Christmas" with that little extra from the props department.As the song goes, you will leave the theatre feeling "Happy".

"Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sunday 11 January 2015.

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