Review: Snow White at Milton Keynes Theatre will give you a warm festive feeling
and live on Freeview channel 276
And venturing out from the comfort of your home in the freezing temperatures we’re currently enduring is certainly worth the effort as this Crossroads Pantomimes production is a great way to chill out for an evening and come home with a warm Christmassy glow.
The headline acts in the cast all bring something different to the party and the audience on press night (Tuesday) certainly enjoyed the festive fare on offer.
Lesley Joseph was superb as the evil Queen Dragonella. The 77-year-old Birds of a Feather star was stretching credibility a touch in true panto style when she claimed she was really in her 30s and was a beauty queen. She was also not afraid to show a bit of leg to seduce the Prince. It didn’t work!
Taking on the role of Oddjob (no, not the Bond villain), was comedian Paul Chuckle, who kept the gags flowing with the help of fellow funnyman Aaron James as Muddles.
Oddjob sharing his shopping trolley contents with the audience was a great early setpiece. And further notable frolics involved a misunderstanding when Muddles was demonstrating his Elvis act while Oddjob had his mind elsewhere, and a magic trick involving the pair of them, a sharp implement and a cucumber.
But, impressive as they all were, the performance I most enjoyed was that of TV judge Rob Rinder as the Man In The Mirror. His appearance on stage was a great excuse for a Michael Jackson classic tune every time he entered the action.
He was the perfect man to judge whether the Queen was the fairest of them all and he had me chuckling as he strutted around the stage like a bit of a diva. He also managed to show his flexibility to take on all challenges by pulling off an unexpectedly acrobatic handspring move.
There really were no bad apples in this cast, with Charlotte Haines having you rooting for Snow White to avoid the Queen’s poisonous fruit. Then there was Dale Mathurin as Prince Harry, who got more songs to perform than most – and you can see why as they were upbeat and sung superbly well. He was also conveniently named to allow the writers to aim a couple of blows at the real-life Royal.
The Winter Festival in the plot was a good excuse for a medley of popular Christmas songs (something you often don’t get in a panto and made a nice change) such as Walking In A Winter Wonderland, and Frosty the Snowman.
Other highlights included a gag where song clips were inserted to make up 90% of the conversation, plus the 12 Days of Christmas routine littered with props and featuring a few, no doubt deliberate, mishaps. Oh, and as a Luton Town fan, I also rather enjoyed the three digs at MK Dons which were sprinkled into the entertainment.
Much of panto world can be predictable (as the same stories are told in theatres up and down the country each year), but in MK there was also an unexpected Snow White plot twist surrounding the poisoned apple, which was a great touch.
The audience looked like they all had fun. Ditto the cast. And you can’t ask for more than that.
The panto runs until Sunday, January 8. Visit atgtickets.com/MiltonKeynes to book.