Last week it was Dick Whittington at the London Palladium, a sparkling panto that is just an excuse to parade an incredible amount of theatrical talent at the expense of the real characterisations. This week it’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at Southampton Mayflower. I must admit it was not something I was looking forward to – but boy was I wrong.
This is the pinnacle of pantomime in the 21st century and to prove the point, my family of 10 spanned four generations – the 90 year olds loved the sparkle, the singing and Craig; the septuagenarians – the choreography and the sets; the forties – the humour (inuendos) and the singing; the teens and tots – the slapstick, the naughty bits and the magic (incredible special effects). And unlike many reviewers we paid for our tickets.
Where in the Palladium everyone is jostling for their own space and performance, here it is the real story with a true COMPANY, all playing their part and as a result all coming across as the professionals that they are. Craig Revel Horwood gets rid of his “Strictly” persona very quickly and becomes the best Wicked Queen any of us have seen (even eclipsing Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage a few years back) – and when he steps forward to perform ‘My Way’ the capacity audience of over 2,300 fell silent, absolutely spellbound at the amazing talent of Craig Revel Horwood.
The comedy as provided by Paul and Barry Elliot (The Chuckle Brothers) is first class and they have the kids eating out of their hands throughout the show, in fact their comedy element even surpasses that of personal and Mayflower pantomime favourite Brian Conley.
The true star of the show is never seen, director/choreographer Andrew Wright (the choreographer of the recent West End smash ‘Half A Sixpence’) has put together one spectacular show that glides effortlessly along. The fact that you can bring a street dance team into a pantomime and make them relevant to the story, and the show, is a major feat in itself and the Britain’s Got Talent finalists ‘Flawless’ are exactly that.
I understand that there might be a few tickets left for a couple of performances in January, get onto the box-office now; I urge you to see the show – it’s only 70 minutes from London by train and the ticket and fare will cost you less than a visit to the Palladium and give you a much better pantomime experience.