It was opening night in panto land for Hamble Players and the augers were good from the start of proceedings with the enchanting Fairy Fortune, every inch the ideal fairy godmother of such tales. At the end of the evening the audience were left with a big smile on their faces having been engaged with a fresh take on panto world courtesy of a witty and nimble script by Alan Frayn. There were plenty of jokes, both good and lame, and a rather good running gag of characters from other pantos constantly popping up and interrupting the action.

Director Maria Barnett has created a show that flows well and makes a good use of the auditorium space. A couple of technical glitches with sound and a few fluffed lines aside, the show was already pretty much bedded in and will certainly develop and iron out any little kinks with subsequent performances.

The scenery was cleverly done, and the design of the magic mirror was particularly impressive. There was some great use of lighting, particularly for Avarice, the wicked queen, and the costumes were magnificent.

The production was well cast, and the company’s enthusiasm and enjoyment were contagious. Andrea Swemmer made an impressive baddy as the wicked Queen Avarice, dressed in a wonderful concoction of a costume that must be the envy of others in the evil queen costume stakes. The way she haughtily stalked up the auditorium was a delight.

Snow White (Tara Barton-Leigh) – dressed as a very recognisable Disney princess – and the Prince (Susan Barton-Leigh) made a charming central couple and sang their roles with aplomb. The new comedy duo of Judge Quill (Tim Hughes) and his side-kick/scribe Scribbles (Lita Buckley), here as an effete eighteenth-century dandy and his rather clumsy assistant, were a welcome addition to the cast. The seven dwarfs all had distinct characters and each actor gave an endearing performance of their role.

For the madcap antics, all credit should go to Beverley Sell as Edna and Jay Skyler Wright as Chuckles, who had a real rapport with the audience and worked hard to get them involved, even if the first night audience was somewhat reticent and subdued. Edna’s rendition of the song Moves Like Jagger was one of the high points of the evening.

Great fun.

Karen Robson

Snow White 2018 Review
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