A magical evening at the pantomime

Reviewed; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

To quote some of the greats, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”! There are so many traditions that come to life in the run up to Christmas, inviting us to fully embrace the festive spirit, and a trip to see a pantomime with family and friends in definitely high on the list. What better way to spend a couple of hours than getting lost in the magic of theatre, joining in with the kids and young-at-heart shouting catchphrases to the loveable characters on stage, encouraging us to be part of the show.

This year Mayflower Theatre, Southampton are bringing to life the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the 9th-31st December – a loved classic well-known by all. Selecting my sparkliest Christmas jumper to truly set the mood I headed on down to absorb myself in the festivities.

From the moment you step into the theatre you are swept up in the magic, the foyer is beautiful adorned with Christmas trees, as you make your way to the main theatre there are snowflakes projected on to the stage and garlands hung around the boxes. The exciting moments of anticipation waiting for the show to begin are just spent gazing in wonder.

When the curtain is finally lifted the audience is poised and ready, as each character takes to the stage to introduce themselves. We quickly learn our lines, warming up our vocal chords to shout back the key responses – after all, participation is mandatory at a pantomime!

Muddles, played by Kev Orkian, was the glue that held the show together. Hyping up the audience he delivered a barrage of witty jokes which would surely crack a smile on the face of even the most serious person! He brought an energy to the stage that was infectious and the beautiful sound on children’s laughter around me was a true testament to his delivery.

I was excited to see Diversity on the bill for this production – having admired their skill and creative dance routines since they won over the country on Britain’s Got Talent. Their commanding presence was a genius move, incorporating in their unique style of dance really ramped up the performance. Led by Ashley Banjo who played Prince Ashley, with Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely at his side along with the help of his Guards, played by member of the Diversity group they set about helping Snow White defeat the evil Queen.

The standout moment for me was when Ashley, Jordan, Perri and Muddles took to the stage to perform a hilarious slap-stick number which had the audience in stitches. Dancing, dodging, weaving, and often colliding, around each other on stage they pulled off an elaborate comic performance, the likes of which takes real skill and comedy timing.

Pantomime royalty graced the stage with Christopher Biggins playing The Man in the Mirror, adding a touch of glamour to the role, he floated on to stage to deliver his comedic harsh truths to the queen, whilst engaging with the audience to create the true panto experience.

Kirsty Ingram’s performance of Snow White embodied everything you want from a Disney princess, her pure voice washing over the audience as she delivered song and dance routines to tell her story, and even threw in a Christmas medley that was hard not to sing along to! She brought a whimsical elegance we all love, and frankly need, from a fairytale. Surrounded by her friends and protectors The Magnificent Seven they delivered humour as they heroically helped restore Snow White back to her rightful place in the castle.

Of course every fairytale needs a villain, this was brought to us by Rachel Stanley who played Queen Dragonella. She would saunter on stage and conjure up the required “boos” from the audience, whilst scheming to be rid of Snow White and win the affection of Prince Ashley. Rachel delivered a strong performance of a character who we all love to hate, that adds to the excitement of the whole experience!

I have to give a special mention to elaborate set designs, so much time and care had clearly gone in to creating the beautiful and magical landscapes of this fairytale world, with constantly changing scenery and a few surprise moments (which I won’t spoil), the creators outdid themselves. Plus add to this the exquisite costumes that brought the stage to life as the characters danced around creating a swirl of sparkle and colour. It was the attention to every detail that made this whole production truly outstanding.

If you like your pantomime with a lot of glitz and glam, and cheesy humour that you can’t help but laugh at, then this is the one for you. We all know the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but with some unexpected twists and turns along the way they keep the audience on their toes, second guessing what might come next! With tickets still available, don’t miss your opportunity to witness this spectacular, even if you don’t feel Christmassy before you go, one step through the doors of the theatre will have you swept up in the magic of the season.


Words by Vicky Anscombe

Photos credit Stuart Martin

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