The Anvil - Snow White
13th December 2012 to 6th January 2013.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until January 6
This was a glittering pantomime with a full quota of slightly off-centre jokes, two comedians - Ian Good as the nurse Dotty Dettoll and Noel Brodie as Muddles - Sarah Louise Day as Snow White, Luke Roberts the Prince, (avoiding convention somewhat) and seven lively actors camping it up as dwarfs.
The Basingstoke and North Hampshire dance academies provided the young dancers, well-choreographed by Sarah Louise Day, who also had to function as the main character, doing well in both capacities.
There was lots of glitter and colour, plenty of topical pop songs and references. The storyline, thin at the best of times, may not have been worked up as well as it might - maybe as director Ian Good had a major acting part to concern him besides the production, and writer Andrew Ryan's script was fairly lightweight. Even so, it all worked well in the end, owing in no small part to Wicked Queen Lucy Benjamin hamming it up mercilessly and creating a huge response from the small children whenever she appeared.
"Snow White's dead," she screamed at the mirror, "I've seen to that." "No she's not, you silly old bat," replied the mirror. (She actually had one little tot crying at the thought of killing Snow White and the nurse had to reassure her it hadn't happened.)
The songs from the Disney film were all given a new lease of life and went down well with the audience. Jokes about Reading and poor old Tadley were interspersed with comic routines and, overall, this production can be recommended to families with four to nine-year-olds, especially. A trio provided the music and timed a sequence with three tots pretending to play their instruments very well.
Then there were the jokes of course, oh yes there were. "Boots don't sell boots, Selfridges don't sell fridges and the Virgin Megastore was a huge disappointment..." Well you don't expect a major improvement in panto jokes any time soon do you?
There are reviews in the Daily Echo ("everything you would expect from a top-class pantomime all packed in to bursting point... even the grouchiest of Ebenezer Scrooges won’t be able to resist standing up and joining in by the end of this pantomime"), The Stage ("excellently staged and very traditional pantomime that has all the ingredients we love and expect... triumphant success"), the Basingstoke Gazette ("all of the principals give great vocal performances... the drama of the moment where Snow White is about to take the fatal bite never diminishes and such is its power that one little girl near me was even reduced to tears. She, and the rest of the children, were, consequently, all more than delighted by the required happy ending").