Panto season is finally upon us, and New Wimbledon Theatre is back with its iconic pantomime show of the year – Snow White. With an all-star cast filled with theatre talent and amazing set and costumes, surely this is a five-star production, right?

Credit: Craig Sugden

The cast is filled to the brim with talent, making all the musical numbers technically amazing. The vocals never cease to cause goosebumps, and the dancing astounds throughout the show. One standout performance is Lee Mead bursting into a gorgeous rendition of ‘Any Dream Will Do’ whilst Dick and Dom heckle him from behind. The first few notes get the audience excited, and by the end of the number, everyone is singing along with him. It was a beautiful, stagey moment. Another standout performance is Ruthie Henshall performing a parodied version of ‘I Put A Spell on You.’ She puts all of her power into the number, and it is certainly a showstopper. The choreography works perfectly with the song, and Henshall’s vocals compliment the song and her villain character.

Brenda Edwards is given one song that she sings around five times in the production. The first time she sings it, it is amazing and gives the audience goosebumps. It creates an excited and nostalgic atmosphere about pantomimes and childhood wonder. However, the more times the song is sung, the more it loses its value. The singing is still impeccable, but it just loses its sparkle and, in a show full of glitz and glam, that’s not ideal. This is also an issue with another song called ‘With a Smile and a Song’ that is sung by the whole cast around three times.

Acting-wise, the whole cast puts their all into each performance; however, the comedic standouts are Dick and Dom who just light up the stage as soon as they enter. They bring up the atmosphere and land every joke they tell, no matter how pathetic. Their ad-libs are comedic gold, and all the puns about their are were very good. The show in its entirety is very funny, yet some jokes are common to go over people’s heads. Ruthie Henshall puts all her energy into her evil performance and truly turns wicked. You can tell she enjoys being evil on that stage.

Credit: Craig Sugden

The plot of pantomimes is commonly poorly written as that’s not really the point of a pantomime – no one goes for a deeply written story. But the writing for this production definitely could have used some polishing. The structure of Act 1 felt a bit off as most of the scenes would be one character on stage at a time with very little interaction. It made the first act feel quite drawn out with nothing really happening. Act 2 was unarguably the better half due to the interaction of characters and quickening of the story. It also has better musical numbers. The show also feels a little under-rehearsed, which will probably smoothen out throughout the run, but they could have used an extra week to polish people’s lines and technical aspects of the show.

Credit: Craig Sugden

With all this criticism, the show is still an incredibly fun night out and definitely worth a watch this season. Panto isn’t meant to be perfect; it’s just meant to make you laugh and have fun during this festive period, and Snow White delivers that.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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