I’m cough years old but a good pantomime won’t fail to touch even the most
jaded, cynical, grown up of adults. And this was no exception.
In fact, and at the risk of over-exuberance (although at the time of writing I’ve had a 12 hour cooling off period) I’d say this was the bar by which pantomimes should be set.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (dwarves isn’t the plural of dwarf – who knew?) at the Opera House, Manchester, is quite simply a masterclass in panto.
Craig Revel Horwood as the Queen was truly Wicked in every sense of the word. Flamboyant, devilishly funny and quite simply screamingly fab-u-lous. What a set of lungs too. Oo-indeed-err.
The Strictly refs came thick and fast but each one landing perfectly (‘out of 10, I’d give him 1…’) and the charisma exuded by this evil queen (indeed) was second to none.
Eric Potts was the ultimate, ultimate Dame! From his cheeky look at the princes’s testimonials, there wasn’t a pun unchecked, a camp aside left unspoken or outrageous outfit left unworn.
Ben Nickless as Muddles barely drew breath during the entire performance and was a triumph as panto Master of Ceremonies.
From 0-100mph the second he took to the stage, the impressions (his Mark Owen just killed me) , cheeky gags, physical comedy and engagement with the audience was second to none. Variety, vaudeville, call it what you want, but it was bloody brilliant.
The three actors together had incredible chemistry and gave us some wonderful laugh out loud moments (I rarely laugh out loud, reader, even the mirthiest of moments will usually lead only to a weird expelling of breath) but I laughed until actual tears came down.
If you’re not belly laughing at the tongue-twister scene or the 12 days of Christmas skit, we cannot be friends.
Zoe George served up a simply perfect princess Snow White as did Joshua St Clair as Prince Harry – pitch perfect and leaving us believing in the love story.
The ‘Magnificent Seven’ had less stage time than expected, but made the most of their scenes, with enough ‘top bantz’ to make you hi-ho-ho-ho (yes, sorry…)
The script also gave great Manchester, with local references aplenty including some saucy refs to a cockatoo on canal street, with nothing in the wider stratosphere was off limits including Prince Andrew and Boris Johnson – the perfect balance of laughs for the kids and under the radar gags for the grown ups.
With such talented cast and performances, the show would be forgiven for resting on its laurels but the production values were spell binding.
The relatively simple sets complimented the magical costumes perfectly and with a couple of surprises literally springing out into the audience, the fourth wall was there to be broken both visually and in the knowing patter throughout.
I think I’ve waxed quite lyrically now and will go have a lie down.
Give yourself an early Christmas present and head to the Opera House immediately, if not sooner. And before Sunday 29 December, 2019.
For full details and tickets head to https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/snow-white/opera-house-manchester/