Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Hexagon - Snow White

6th December 2003 to 4th January 2004.

From BBC Radio Berkshire.

If you ever want to explain the peculiar British sense of camp fun to anyone, take them to a good pantomime. And if you want a good pantomime, you need the right cast: a children's TV presenter and Bouncer from Neighbours are not necessarily cut out for the job...

Su Pollard and Christopher Lillicrap, however, clearly are. It takes talent to be able to turn from a simpering cleaning maid to a thoroughly booable evil queen. Christopher Lillicrap has done a masterful job as writer, combining almost every single panto cliché you've paid good money to see into a couple of fun-packed hours. People who complain about the TV generation would have been amazed by the kids' ability to play along with set pieces like "it's behind you!", "oh no we're not!" and the rest.

There was of course all the usual excellent, heart-warming magic and fun (bunnies, the great cake-making scene, gratuitous dancing to pop songs). The older children were treated to that particular brand of eye-popping double entendre courtesy of Mr Lillicrap ("ooh, look at that saucy gentleman - Father Christmas has nothing on you..."), but one thing that seemed interesting was the choice of songs. The musical numbers were slick and entertaining - a rarity in regional panto - but some of the songs hailed from the '60s, '70s and '80s. All very appropriate and enjoyable, but some of the littler ones were getting slightly restless at that point. S Club's "Reach" was the exception and a real high moment, though.

It's hard to fault this production, and it goes highly recommended to any young people looking for fun, or anyone older who needs a smile putting on their face. Four and a half jellybabies out of five.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Everyone loves a fairytale ending

Snow White, at The Hexagon, until January 4

This was three-year-old Ella's first experience of pantomime, but big brother George was an old hand.

We were greeted at the theatre by familiar Christmas songs, just to get us into the festive spirit.

Mind you, some already had it - there was even a little girl in a Snow White outfit sitting in the audience.

As Fairy Snow began the proceedings, she 'magicked' up a six-foot-tall white rabbit, which immediately grabbed the attention of the younger audience. As it turned out, he was about to become the unlikely hero of the evening.

The audience was immediately drawn into the traditional refrain of "he's behind you", warning of ghosts and booing and hissing at the evil queen (Su Pollard).

Her character was brilliant throughout, although it was hard to get the old Peggy from Hi De Hi out my head.

The pantomime dame, Nurse Nora, played by Christopher Lillicrap (who wrote the panto), was also excellent and not too 'over the top'. His son Nicholas the Page was played by Richard Earl, and the two complemented each other well.

Even though Nicholas lost his first true love, he found happiness with another.

The seven re-named dwarves that included Swifty, Nifty, Burpy and Bossy, invited Snow White to join their DC7 club (Dwarf Club 7) and had everyone clapping and singing along to Reach for the Stars.

The comedy, in good old panto style, was for old and young alike, while the music and dance got the audience clapping and tapping their feet.

It was a lovely family evening and you could see that the cast clearly enjoyed their 'work'.

Ella and George both agreed, though, that the white rabbit was best.

And we all love a fairytale ending - don't we?

So we recommend you book now to see it, or miss out.

AMANDA COOK