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FAYE STEPS INTO PANTO
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Until Saturday 3rd January 2016
We have been lucky in seeing a number of great pantomimes this year. This is no exception and as a member of the audience said “this is better than the last one we saw.” The bar has been raised in the region.
So what makes a great panto? One simple element is realising that the audience are as much a part of the show as the cast and crew. No amount of special effects escapes the fact that panto is something you are a part of rather than something that is done to you. In Steve Walls we have a master of ceremonies that fully appreciates how to work the audience. As Muddles he encourages the Whitley Bay crowd to take part and get involved. From the cute children singing Old Macdonalds Farm to the greetings when he walks onto the stage.
Adding to the children’s entertainment is a very talented Rebecca Shorrocks as the daft and friendly Odd Job. In not always reading the situation right, Rebecca frequently gave everyone someone to laugh with. The Whitley Bay crowd seemed to have a significant younger element of children in compared to other panto’s and it is important that they had jokes they could enjoy.
On to the story… Snow White (Charlotte Chinn) is the fairest of them all in Ooo La La Ville and becomes the love interest of Prince Charming (Rob McVeigh) when he visits looking for a bride. The Wicked Queen (Faye Tozer) is less than impressed and so she demands Snow White is killed in the forest. Rather than kill his friend, Odd Job leaves her in the forest where she decides to have a kip in a house with 7 very small beds…
Former Steps star Faye Tozer proves herself to be a decent actor as well as a great singer. She makes a grand entrance with a Queen medley and finishes the show with a crowd pleasing Steps medley. She enjoyed herself as the baddie and courted the boos of the audience. It is surprising that she wasn’t given more opportunities to sing than she was.
The set and costumes are very bright and the special effect with the mirror very effective. The dancers, including the youngsters from the Hazel Rayson Dance School, didn’t put a foot wrong and felt a part of the story rather than a bolt-on.
The only quibble really was the decision to put fixed static heads on the dwarves. This meant they had to exaggerate hand gestures to show who was meant to be talking. The backing tape used impressions tv personalities such as Simon Cowell, Bruce Forsyth and Keith Lemon for each of the dwarves. This represents, in our opinion, a missed opportunity for the actors from the Tyne Theatre School to really show off their skills.
Snow White is a warm and friendly show that both the young and older members of the audience enjoyed.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver for the North East Theatre Guide from Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo
Read the original North East Theatre Guide preview:
Tickets are on sale now and already selling fast. Call the Playhouse Box Office on 0844 248 1588 or book online at www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk