Review BH Snow White & Seven Dwarfs 2021
It's panto season, oh yes it is
A trip to the theatre is always a special occasion, but after nearly three years since watching a live performance and countless rearranged shows due to the pandemic, it really felt quite a big moment to be back at the Bristol Hippodrome for the start of panto season.
This year’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the coming together of the traditional fairy tale we all know and love, with some hilarious modern-day twists which made for an absolute spectacular of a show.
Set from the beginning in Brizzle Town, the audience was invited to join Princess Snow White as she meets her very own Prince Charming, or in this case, Prince Harry, and prepares for her birthday party. Except, in true panto style, it doesn’t go exactly to plan!
Charlotte Haines, playing Snow White, is everything we hope for in a princess, and has a magnificent singing voice. Similarly, Prince Harry of Hengrove, (Dale Mathurin) is quite the catch.
Birds of a Feather legend, Lesley Joseph, played the absolute perfect panto villain as Queen Dragonella, determined to kill off Snow White and regain her title as the fairest in the land.
However, The Man in the Mirror, played by Rob Rinder, is never too far away, doing what he does best – judging the evil Queen and ultimately holding her to account! This was really quite an impressive debut panto performance from the courtroom barrister, complete with plenty of dance moves showing that he still has all the moves from Strictly Come Dancing, on which he appeared and came fifth in 2016.
The star of the show, according to my children, has to be West Country comedian and panto favourite Andy Ford, aka Muddles, Snow White’s best friend, who had them doubled over with laughter for the entire show. It was literally a laugh a minute with non-stop slap stick humour for both children and adults alike. Although almost every word brought beaming smiles and just his presence on the stage was enough to set the audience off. It was a wonderful feeling to laugh so much it made you ache!
The hard work that has gone into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was clear to see, but sometimes it’s the unplanned and unrehearsed moments that turn out to be unforgettable.
The 12 days of Christmas scene where Lesley Joseph, Rob Rinder, Andy Ford and Dale Mathurin sing about birthday gifts for Snow White was side-splittingly funny! What started off as a small faux pas from Lesley Joseph when she accidentally threw ‘five toilet rolls’ into the audience, ended up in utter giggling chaos, but for me it really just made the night. With mistaken lyrics being sung, wrong stage exits and a rather shocking wig removal all as the music continued to quicken, was just an added treat!
While, for me, the panto is all about the humour and the music, I was also wowed by the stunning sets, glittery costumes and the incredible lighting. This show is a sensory overload from start to finish and perfect for every age!
It’s been a long two years with its everlasting lockdowns and absence of birthday parties, Christmas get togethers, school plays, holidays and anything else we may have previously taken for granted, and although we’ve definitely started to feel like life has returned a little more back to normal, there’s still those everyday reminders, telling us that we’re not quite there yet.
As excited as I was to see the show, it did not compare to my 10 and seven-year-old boys, pictured with parents Trudi and Darren below, who couldn’t stop jumping around with excitement when I surprised them with the news we were off to the panto. I felt this was just one way of making up for what feels like so many ‘I’m sorry we can’t do that’, or ‘we aren’t allowed’ moments and could have cried when my eldest recently said: “Mum, I know it's not your fault, but I really, really wish, that we didn’t have to cancel anything or say 'no' anymore because of Covid.”
At the age of 10, there’s lots going on in his mind and there is often a confliction of wanting to be more grown up, but still actually being a child and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with that. For the duration of this panto though, it was so wonderful to see him fully immersed and without a care in the world.
For my seven-year-old, who was three the last time he went to a pantomime, it was almost like his first experience all over again – certainly that he will remember. Donning a Santa hat, he thought it was amazing to be able to shout out and join in, dance in his seat and was utterly mesmerised by the lights, commenting: “This is the bestest day of my life.”
As well as being a much-needed treat for the entire audience, young and old, it was clear to see that this was just as special for the cast and all those involved front of house and behind the scenes.
It felt particularly poignant to be at the opening night with Lesley Joseph at the end giving a heartfelt thank you to us all for coming along and supporting them do what they love – being on stage.
Whether you are wanting a festive treat or just the chance to do something that we’ve all long missed, I wholeheartedly recommend going to see this!