After the widespread disappointment of last Christmas which saw theatre productions cancelled all over the country, December marks the welcome return of Blackpool’s beloved annual pantomime.
This year’s show is a well-known classic – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – produced by Martin Dodd for UK Productions.
Here’s our review of the show.
One of the greatest things about panto is that it truly is for everyone. Spanning back to the 16th century, this now-festive tradition is a must-have for millions of families at Christmas time. From our seats in the stunning Grand Theatre’s dress circle, we were surrounded by people of all ages – grandparents, couples, and toddlers included. As the show kicked off with Muddles (better known as BGT finalist Steve Royle) requesting that the audience join his gang, a row of teens in front were reluctant to join in. A few minutes later and they were howling with laughter along with the rest of the audience.
While the absence of panto last year made this one all the more remarkable, so did the current political climate. Pantomime is always funny, but I’ve never experienced one as fiercely hilarious as this year’s production. As well as being littered with pandemic parodies like the scene featuring an all-too-familiar ‘next slide please’ skit and a ‘double-jabbed’ Prince, the characters also made reference to a party. One that definitely didn’t happen…
One young viewer commented after the show:
“It’s so good to be back at the panto. It makes me feel so Christmassy, and this year’s show was funnier than ever. I could barely breathe during the 12 Days of Christmas scene!”
The show’s cast did a great job capturing the comedic joy and theatrical spirit of the story at hand. Coronation Street’s Vicky Entwistle took on this year’s celebrity role, excellently playing the deviant Wicked Queen. Jamie Steen slotted into the role of Dolly brilliantly – even gifting the crowd with an accidental wig-cident that left him looking more than embarrassed. Prince Frederick and Snow White were taken on by the incredibly talented pairing of Chris Warner-Drake and Ellie Green, both providing vocal talent destined for the stage. The glittering cast was made whole by the true star of Blackpool’s annual pantomime, Steve Royle, who self-titled this year as the ‘third most talented man in Britain’.
This panto classic wouldn’t have been possible without the brilliant team of dwarfs in tow, played by Chris Chapman, Trevor Jones, Emma Jones, Aaron Haworth, Ben Holmes, Hayley Burroughs and Harrison Davis. The group brought some brilliant comedy moments to the show, as well as some tender representations of friendship too.
It was an emotional experience to be back in the incredible Grand Theatre, especially after the tumultuous pandemic that put its existence at risk. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the perfect way to welcome crowds back into such a historically significant arena and the collective joy was palpable.
If you’re interested in catching the panto at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, you have until 2nd January 2022 to enjoy it. Head to their website now to find out more information and get your tickets in the bag – it’s well worth the watch!
Header image: Vicky Entwistle (Coronation Street) stars as the Wicked Queen alongside Grand Panto favourite comic Steve Royle (Britan’s Got Talent finalist) as Muddles.
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