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Review: Snow White, Newcastle Theatre Royal, until January 18

As Danny Adams and Clive Webb celebrate a decade of pantos on Tyneside, we send our youngest columnist to see her first ever one

*****
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Theatre Royal Newcastle
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Theatre Royal Newcastle

It seems the spirit embodied by New Year’s resolutions has hit this little lady a month early.

Buoyed by my recent triumph at Disney on Ice (I got over my inherent uncomfortableness with darkness, loud speakers and big crowds to clap my hands off at Mickey and his mates’ skating spectacular), the invitation to attend my first pantomime was simply too tempting to turn down.

I say ‘invitation’ - truth be told, up until Monday night, the decision had been made not to take me along this year, and I wasn’t at all bothered. I’d heard tales of loud bangs, loads of shouting and more than the odd scary baddie on stage, so I was on board with the assumption that Georgie T at a panto would still be on my to do list when I hit the big FOUR next summer.

This all changed the moment I heard Mum telling Big Bro Fred that the pantomime in question was to be Snow White. I had no idea my ears had the ability to prick up. I do now.

You see I’ve had a Snow White in both my plastic and snuggly toy collection for months now - but I’ve never been told the story (the parentals better hope the police don’t read this column). This was my chance to find out all about her and cross ‘Snow White’s Autobiography’ off my list for Father Christmas, thus freeing up a space for ‘hair which never needs brushing’. Result.

The sugar-fuelled buzz in the foyer of the Theatre Royal was enough to get me excited.

Add in a piece of plastic which lights up and spins around and I was bouncing on my booster chair by the time everything went DARK and the BIG, BOOMING voice came over the LOUD speakers amid the bangs and crashes of thunder. Then a face, which looked like it had been crafted from a turnip at the bottom of our vegetable rack (where no-one ever goes) appeared on a massive magic mirror to set the scene - and introduce the notion of a Wicked Queen. Talk about lobbing me in at the deep end. Let’s just say everyone was very impressed (and a little bit surprised) that I maintained my potty-trained discipline throughout.

 

I must confess that at this point, the words ‘I want to go home’ were uttered more than once, but between cuddles and rallying encouragement from Fred, I decided to stay put. And I couldn’t he happier about that.

From the moment Muddles and his dad (who I’m told are real life father and son team Clive Webb and Danny Adams - a staple panto force at the Theatre Royal for a whopping 10 years), made their funny entrance, I absolutely loved it.

The dancing and singing were brill and had me throwing some shapes of my own in the grand circle.

Muddles and his Dad - together with his wonderfully-dresssed dame of a Mum (played by Chris Hayward) made sure the laughs never stopped - the decorating scene, the acrobatic routine and the pan-playing routine had us giggling to the point of tears.

Meanwhile the troupe of Dwarfs made the parentals laugh out loud loads. They were led by Peter Peverley’s ‘Little Bobby’ who rode on a magpie called Gazza and had an arsenal of one liners from his Little Waster namesake at his disposal. Apparently this - and their collection of costumes were “nothing short of genius” according to Mum. Although she’d had a mulled wine in the interval.

The only bits I can’t give a blow by blow account of are the ones which could be filed under ‘scary’ by your average three-year-old.

I won’t spoil the end of part one climax, but I’m pretty sure the same technology was used to bring a giant bat and an even bigger T-Rex to life later on (Mum promises they won’t be appearing in the more traditional Snow White storybook Santa’s going to bring me). And of course the Wicked Queen (Steve Arnott) and her unnerving mirror were never far away either.

All of this saw me welded into my Mum’s shoulder like a limpet... but it couldn’t have been more worth it.

By the time everyone was ready to live happily ever after, I was more than ready to buy my tickets for next year’s pantoised version of Dick Whittington. Oh yes I was!

Snow White is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until January 18.

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