It's Britain's biggest pantomime.... oh yes it is!!! Qdos Pantomimes present possibly the heaviest star line up any show has ever seen, seven lead cast members who sparkle, shine, sing and surpass all expectations in Birmingham Hippodrome's Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs!
Mirror, mirror, on the wall... well, not on the wall but magically flying in from the sky is everyone's favourite fashion guru Gok Wan. Dressed like a glittering disco ball the audience go wild at his sight... Definitely a crowd favourite, Gok is rewarded with rapturous applause and hysterical laughter with every appearance. Making his pantomime debut and even tackling the song 'Fabulous Baby' from Sister Act, he ensures every ounce of energy goes into his outrageously camp and thoroughly entertaining Man In The Mirror.
West End leading man John Partridge is more than made for his Princely part, torn-off sleeves revealing his bulging biceps and just as strong a voice to match. Furthering the quality of a West End musical is Danielle Hope, BBC Over The Rainbow winner and fresh from playing Eponine in Les Misérables there is even a beautiful rendition of On My Own thrown in for good measure. Danielle is a delight and remains perfectly poised throughout the madness, an ideal princess.
Gary Wilmot is a very impressive first-time dame. With two original songs written by himself he particularly showcases his talent and oozes a genuine warmth, his song about a Brummie Balti is a particular highlight. Dynasty legend Stephanie Beacham is an incredibly strong bad girl as the Wicked Queen. The strongest villain I've certainly seen in panto, she is definitely boo-worthy and deliciously dastardly.
Paul Zerdin as Muddles and his sponge friend Sam delight the audience and mock others in equal part. I'm not particularly one for audience participation but tonight's married couple were good sports... they became ventriloquist dummies having mouth masks fitted to their heads. It's likely you've seen the gag before but with added humiliation the laughs keep coming... when the mask was replaced for one that worked! Staged corpsing and deliberate 'things going wrong' are aplenty and an integral part of pantomime now... perhaps this was just one of them. A secondary 'Muddles' or 'Buttons' type character is added to this pantomime in the form of Oddjob played by Matt Slack. More buffoonish than brother Muddles, Oddjob wins audience affection with slapstick routines and obscure facial expressions.
The dwarfs have less stage time than you'd perhaps expect from titular characters but they make the most of time they do have with a catchy song and individual regional accents. Lead by Ewan Goddard they move around the stage in costumes like that of Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical. They're a great, young and fresh alternative to traditional dwarfs and work incredibly well - a cute, enjoyable addition to the cast. The large ensemble of 10 dancers are incredibly dynamic and bring life to the already lively orchestration.
John Partridge and Gary Wilmot
The set and backcloths transport you instantly to a fantasy world, gone are the days of lengthy and awkward scene changes, everything happens seamlessly and within an instant here. This show is a plethora of special effects, whirling fireworks, a flying dragon and dazzling costumes. The first half is almost like a variety show, the second half like a musical but with traditional panto values well and truly at the heart of it all.
You should never question purchasing tickets to the Birmingham pantomime - always a spectacle and Michael Harrison's new production lives up to and exceeds the expectations of previous years. Co-written by Alan McHugh, once again choreographed by Karen Bruce with Associate Director Tom O'Connell and Musical Director Robert Willis completing an expert team behind Qdos Entertainment's leading production.
Find out more from the cast of Snow White in the podcast below and in my press launch coverage here.
Don't delay in booking for what is an unmissable family pantomime or you may not be able to look yourself in the mirror! See Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday 2 February 2014. You can book tickets by calling 0844 338 500, visiting the box office in person or online here.
Cast List: Gok Wan, John Partridge, Danielle Hope, Gary Wilmot, Matt Slack, Paul Zerdin and Sam, Stephanie Beacham, Matt Bateman, Tom Brandon, Jon-Scott Clark, Ewan Goddard, Daniel Hope, Conleth Kane, Mark Laverty, Anne Smith, Chloe Ames, Callum Aylott, James Bennett, Michael Burr, Kage Douglas, Stephanie Elstob, Diana Girbau, Charlotte Scally, Luke Swattridge, Marie Walker