Dear Mummy, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to Basingstoke we go! Our family loves a good pantomime and recently we were invited to The Anvil to watch their Christmas 2018 offering.
Christmas pantos always signify the start of the festive season for us and over the weekend we enjoyed the Anvil’s adaptation of the famous Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fairytale. The production gave a nod to some of the best highlights from 2018, including Baby Shark, with top pop tunes and witty jokes it kept us enthralled for a couple of hours.
We’re not ashamed to say that we’ve seen a few pantos over the years, so we know when we’re on to a winner. From the moment pantomime dame Dolly the Nurse, played by Jamie Steen, came on stage in her flamboyant costumes and giant bubblegum pink hair we knew we were in for a barrel of laughs. The little dance troop which accompanied her were super awesome and I was mesmerised by their pointed toes and razzle dazzle. One day I’d love to be on the stage too!
Dolly’s zillions of costume changes which included a MacDonald’s drive-thru dress, a take on dolly mixtures, Princess Leia, a picnic table and a fairy washing up bottle outfit made us chuckle. With elaborate hair creations, towering spinning tea pots, she really was a feast for the eyes. With some highbrow and naughty jokes which went above my head but had my folks in fits of laughter.
It was also great to get to know Muddles, her onstage son, played by Chris Pizzey, who ensured the audience remained fully engaged throughout, he was happy to be the butt of the jokes and drag the audience into the fun. He had a slight problem with getting his words out and jumbled them up when talking with some unexpected and hilarious results. Our highlight was ” muffle your farts” as opposed to “follow you hearts”.
What we didn’t expect was to be taken on a whirlwind of slapstick comedy from this comedy duo team which had my folks reaching for the tissues in floods of tears (good tears from laughing so much). Of course there was the famous bench scene in the haunted woods which had the audience screaming “it’s behind you”. The performance had dramatic dancing and non-stop action.
The pinnacle of this was the rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas, which had us in absolute stitches. Bizarre objects replaced the traditional song themes and it ended up in chaos. When one of the objects was thrown into the audience with Muddles clambering over people, the kids screamed wildly in delight, people were in hysterics at this impromptu addition to the interactivity of the show. We won’t even speak to you about the water guns – just be prepared to get wet.
I booed at a top of my lungs when the Wicked Queen appeared, played by Kirsty Sparks, and she embodied the evil character really well with her killer demeanour and chilling rendition of Brittany Spears’ Toxic. When the Wicked Queen’s magic mirror declared that Snow White was the fairest in all the land, the evil Queen wanted her dead. I hid behind my hands as she dipped the poison apple in her cauldron and cackled.
A complete contrast was Snow White, played by Dani Harmer, who was a kind and loveable princess. But the Wicked Queen with a poisoned apple in her possession tracked down Snow White into the cottage in the woods. The set design was very clever, even when there was a malfunction with a curtain the characters made a joke about it which was quick thinking and funny to see.
Prince Charming was chisel perfection and often laughed at himself while the audience swooned at his hair flicking and gallantry. Falling for Snow White over the Wicked Queen who spurned turned jealous with rage which resulted in Snow White being led into the forest to meet her end. Her relationship with the Seven Dwarfs brought a heart-warming element to the production. Thankfully Snow White managed to escape the queens evil clutches to the forest where she meets the woodland creatures and her seven friends.
Very few productions use dwarf actors nowadays so it was refreshing that the Anvil chose to do Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and do it properly and give the roles and credit to the actors involved as opposed to using child actors. The cast were absolutely fantastic and even though the Snow White’s dwarfs used names different from their Disney counterparts, they brought to life the story in my imagination. So thank you. Daddy kept saying how a few of them had been in big films he had seen like Harry Potter and Star Wars. It even gave a father (KIP) and son (SOPPY) the opportunity to perform together which made feel like it was a family performance we were watching. Of course it was a happy ending for Snow White and her Prince Charming and we clapped furiously at the amazing fairytale wedding.
For a fun-filled night, make sure you don’t miss Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which will be on at The Anvil until January 6 2019. We throughly enjoyed the show, the audience participation and the energy in the room was electric and the jokes and storytelling was funny and engaging. If you’re in Hampshire and you have the opportunity to see this Christmas panto, you won’t regret it! Oh yes you will, Oh not you won’t 😉
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were kindly invited to the Christmas panto in order to review, all chuckles and smiles are our own.