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Heigh Ho! It's off to the Anvil we go

Basingstoke's sparkling Snow White reviewed by Robin Strapp

Trish Lee

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trish.lee@newburynews.co.uk

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“HEIGH-Ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to The Anvil you go” to see this year’s glittering pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This family- friendly show is tremendous fun and filled with magical moments that the spirited audience loved and joined in wholeheartedly.

Dani Harmer – CBBC’s Tracy Beaker – makes a delightful Snow White, looked after by her evil stepmother, who treats her like a slave rather than a princess. Kirsty Sparks excelled as the wicked Queen, with a powerful singing voice and command of the stage. The audience took great pleasure in booing her at every opportunity... and they were loud.

We met the Queen’s servant Muddles, so called because he gets his words all muddled up. Chris Pizzey, who also directs, was our quintessential gang leader with a superb charismatic rapport with the kids. He certainly knows how to work the audience and gave a masterclass in clowning. Jamie Steen as Nurse Dolly, our Dame, gave an outstanding performance, wearing the most outrageous costumes that got sillier with each entrance.The chemistry between these two actors was a joy to watch and they seemed to be having as much fun as the audience were.

The jokes came fast and furious and some, although groan-making, were really funny, such as “Which Spice Girl can hold the most petrol? Jerry can” – well, it was that sort of a show. Chris Warner Drake made a charming Prince, summoned to court by the Queen, with the intention of marrying him... but first she has to get rid of Snow White. Poor Muddles was bewitched by the Queen to kill Snow White and took her into the forest where she met the seven dwarfs, who all gave strong and
engaging performances.

All the traditional elements of panto are here, including a hilarious, if exhausting, rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas – but watch out for the 12 water pistols and the soaking coming your way. There was also a charming woodland scene with small animals and a riotous ghost sketch to the song of Ghostbusters.

It all does end happily, with Snow White winning her Prince and the Queen being trapped in the mirror for ever.

With energetic choreography by Sarah Louise Day, the ensemble danced with verve, ably assisted by youngsters from Basingstoke Academy of Dancing on the night I saw the performance.Martyn Cooper once again led the band and a special mention for Stephen Holroyd’s lighting design.

A lively, glittering panto – don’t miss it.

ROBIN STRAPP
Relaxed performance on Wednesday, January 2, at 2pm

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