Bristol Hippodrome

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

 

Let’s give a big hand to the Bristol Hippodrome for casting small actors in its pantomime production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Led by Warwick Davis of Star Wars fame as the Prof the vertically challenged cast arrive on stage swinging lanterns to the tune of Hi-ho, hi-ho.

Entering from the stalls in crocodile formation Warwick and his gang of Loopy, Cheeky, Blusher, Grumbly, Snoozy and Sniffley filed into the auditorium to the palatable delight of an excited audience.

It is funny the collective word for dwarfs is ‘a shortage’ but there was no shortage of laughs on the stage on Tuesday night despite the show starting 10 minutes late due to traffic gridlock in the city centre.

Based on a Grimm fairytale the panto is the story of a wicked stepmother played admirably by Kim Ismay trying to steal fame, fortune and love interest of lovely Francesca Lara Gordon who plays the real princess turned skivvy, Snow White.

As usual there are lots of local references with posh people like dashing Prince Clive played by Shaun Dalton living in Clifton while Bridgwater gets a not-so-polite passing mention.

And a dastardly mirror and poison apple complete the plot.

You know this show it isn’t going to be too scary when comedian Andy Ford in his seventh season is cast as Herman the Henchman with CBeebies presenter Andy Day as Muddles the court jester.

Andy Day arrives on stage on a scooter to make fun of Queen Morgiana who although the mirror says she is the fairest in the land he compares her to a ‘dinosaur’ and jokes that Shaun the Sheep takes his holidays at Weston-super-Baa.

While Andy Ford in a contemporary quip says Lady C from I’m A Celeb fame is the most beautiful lady in the land.

The pair even used social media abbreviations telling the youngsters that LMAO means Left My Auntie Outside.

You couldn’t make them up – but then someone has to...

When checking the laundry Snow White is referred to as Dorothy Perkins as one of the Andy’s reads the clothes label.

But it is the diminutive stars of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs who steal the show – both the seven dwarfs which includes two father and daughter pairs and the dance troupe of small children.

Warwick is joined on stage by daughter Annabelle and wheelchair-bound Peter Burroughs acts alongside daughter Hayley.

Best bits?

Well the set and costumes are great especially the inside of the diamond mine and the pop-up two up one down country cottage home of the dwarfs.

The dancers big and small are delightful – loved the Thriller routine and the furry woodland animals.

Not sure about the Humpty Dumpty scene but Warwick as a cheerleader and Andy Ford in pink tutu were hilarious in the song and dance scene If I Were Not Upon the Stage.

Loved the characterisations among the dwarfs and learned a new word for snot - ‘nasal bacterial microbes’ and the lack of manic slapstick and limited double entendres suited my sensibilities perfectly.

My favourite short actor of all times is Peter Dinklage who I first saw in his breakout role in The Station Agent and more latterly as the all-seeing and all-knowing sexpot Tyrion Lannister in the Game of Thrones series.

It was back in the early 1950s when I met the performers of the Lilliput Circus who were touring Germany that I learned some grown-ups are as small as children.

There was this lovely little lady who served me sweets from her miniature caravan and told me there weren’t many careers for people with restricted height and that strangely she dreamed of being a bilingual secretary.

I was young enough not to be PC and still believe all young girls dream of being a princess like Snow White and of living happily ever after in a castle somewhere.

Despite this early memory somehow I had forgotten Warwick who stands 3ft 6in in his stocking feet is really tiny.

He grew enormously in statue for me after watching him on Piers Morgan Life Stories.

The Harry Potter and Life’s Too Short comedic actor this year set up the Reduced Height Theatre Company to represent performers under 4ft in height.

Before the launch Warwick said: “I am delighted to be appearing in Snow White at The Bristol Hippodrome this Christmas.

“I am looking forward to working with the theatre, the cast and crew to bring you the best panto Bristol has ever seen.

“It’s a ‘tall order’ but I’m determined it won’t fall ‘short’ of audience expectations!”

Rest assured you didn’t and the granddaughters who accompanied me agreed it was ‘best ever’ pantomime and great family show.

The panto runs until Sunday, January 3.

Tickets from £11.90 with concessions at certain performances.

To book click HERE or call 0844 871 3012.

Carol Deacon

Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi premiere with Warwick Davis and his wife Sam and children Annabelle, 18, and Harrison, 12, on the red carpet for the grand unveiling of the long-awaited seventh installment in the popular film franchise

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs

 

PREVIEW

 

Christmas is coming and panto people are putting together the festive shows.

And topping the bill at the Bristol Hippodrome is film and television star Warwick Davis, Cbeebies presenter Andy Day and panto favourite Andy Ford.

The trio will be starring in this year’s dazzling family pantomime – Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.

Warwick will star as Prof, with Andy Day as Muddles and Andy Ford as the Henchman.

Warwick’s acting career came about purely by chance when his grandmother heard a radio announcement calling for ‘short people’ to appear in the new Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.

He played the tiny Ewok Wicket, who became one of the film’s lead creature characters and the rest is history.

Warwick’s work in film also includes Labyrinth, Willow, cult movie Leprechaun which spawned five sequels, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace where he played no less than four roles, children’s films A Very Unlucky Leprechaun and The White Pony.

More recently Warwick could be seen in Ray Charles biopic Ray, as Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and in Prince Caspian the follow up to The Chronicles of Narnia’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Warwick has appeared in many guises in all eight Harry Potter films which have become one of the most successful film series of all time.

His characters include Professor Flitwick, the Goblin Bank Teller and Griphook.

In 2011 he starred in BBC comedy series Life’s Too Short, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. 

Warwick co-created the show which saw him playing an exaggerated version of himself alongside guest stars including Liam Neeson, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Barry from Eastenders.

2012 saw Warwick travel the globe in An Idiot Abroad 3, on Sky 1 HD with Karl Pilkington.

The unlikely pair were sent by Ricky Gervais to follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo from Venice, Italy to China.

In 2013 Warwick made his West End debut in Spamalot, starring as Patsy alongside his Life’s Too Short co-star Les Dennis as King Arthur.

Not even Warwick’s wife knew he could sing and dance until she saw him treading the boards at the Playhouse.

In 2014 he realised a dream by founding and touring with the Reduced Height Theatre Company with their first production See How They Run.

This wonderfully funny and much-loved farce was enhanced by the fact that the cast are all under four foot tall.

He then also went on to be the host of his first prime-time game show, Celebrity Squares, as well as starring with his family in their own travel show, Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis, both for ITV.

Finally, he rounded off the year by appearing in his first Christmas movie, Get Santa, alongside Jim Broadbent and Rafe Spall.

2015 has already seen Warwick hosting second series’ of both Celebrity Squares and Weekend Escapes, and he is set to feature in the next Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, due for release later this year. 

Warwick said: “I am delighted to be appearing in Snow White at The Bristol Hippodrome this Christmas.

"I am looking forward to working with the theatre, the cast and crew to bring you the best panto Bristol has ever seen.

"It’s a ‘tall order’ but I’m determined it won’t fall ‘short’ of audience expectations! I’m looking forward to seeing you all there!”

Andy Day is very well known to families across the country for fronting his own Bafta nominated Cbeebies series Andy’s Wild Adventures, as well as the follow-up series Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures. 

Andy has just completed filming a new series Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures which will be shown in 2016.

When not presenting for Cbeebies Andy stars in a comedy family show Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time Machine. 

Andy is no stranger to pantomime having appeared in several including Aladdin, Cinderella and Dick Whittington.

Andy has become a firm favourite with Hippodrome audiences and critics alike and this will be his seventh consecutive panto here following his hugely popular performance as Idle Jack in Dick Wittington in 2014-15.

Andy has performed his comedy routines to Her Majesty The Queen and also topped the bill at the World Famous London Palladium.

His irrepressible style and charm has seen him invited onto the UK's top chat shows and his live stand-up routine as well as his comedy seminars are constantly in demand.

The final cast stars were announced this week.

Kim Ismay, Francesca Lara Gordon and special guest Shaun the Sheep will be joining the show.

Kim will play the Wicked Queen Morgiana and Francesca will play the beautiful Snow White.

Shaun the Sheep of course needs no introduction to his fans and will be baaaa-forming his way through the pantomime alongside this hugely talented cast.

Kim’s musical appearances have included Mamma Mia!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Singin’ In The Rain & Saturday Night Fever while Francesca will be starring in her first major role since graduating from The Arts Educational School, London.

Bristol Hippodrome marketing manager Steve Jones said: “I’m delighted this year we have Snow White which is the perfect family panto for Christmas.

"Add to this the casting of Harry Potter and Star Wars fame Warwick Davis and Bristol audiences are in for a real treat.

"A warm West Country welcome awaits CBeebies Andy Day as Muddles in his first visit to the Hippo and the return of Bristol’s favourite ‘babber’ Andy Ford. "We are all in for a great season this year! Oh yes we are.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a dazzling fairytale of a pantomime guaranteed to melt everyone’s hearts; watch as the beautiful Snow White and the dwarfs attempt to defeat the Wicked Queen. Will Snow White meet her handsome Prince and save the day?

Snow White will feature all the traditional pantomime ingredients: Sensational songs, sparkling costumes, a live band, dazzling dance routines, hilarious slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation, plus the magnificent sets and costumes The Bristol Hippodrome panto is famous for.

The panto opens on Saturday, December 5 and runs until Sunday, January 3, 2016.

Tickets are on sale now .

To book call  0844 871 3012 or the groups/schools hotline 0844 871 3032.

You can make online bookings by clicking HERE.

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