SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS FAMILY REVIEW
The Bristol Hippodrome
Saturday 5th December – Sunday 3rd January 2016
This week must surely be our family’s busiest time of the year for live entertainment. By Saturday night I will have watched seven shows, six of them featuring my own children – a school nativity, an end of term drama group production, a Lambda exam performance, a chamber choir carol concert, a Broadway style Christmas show and two pantomimes! With all this going on, there’s no denying that Christmas is well and truly on its way.
“Oh no it isn’t!”
“Oh yes, I’m afraid it really is!”
Snow White Panto
Immediately the curtain rises on the colourful, sparkly set at Tuesday’s press night of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the audience seems completely in the party mood with no need for a warm up! There’s audience participation aplenty with laughter, gasps and boos and the odd “He’s behind you!”, mostly in all the right places!
This is the story of the beautiful Snow White featuring Warwick Davis as Prof, Andy Day as the loveable Muddles and Andy Ford, with his usual comedy mayhem, as Herman the Henchman, oh and ewe wouldn’t want to forget star Baa-former, Shaun the Sheep!
Following a lifetime of mistreatment from her evil stepmother, Snow White joins forces with her friends and attempts to defeat the Wicked Queen. Will Snow White meet her handsome Prince and will good triumph over evil?
Muddles is played by Bristol resident Andy Day (known by CBeebies-watching families across the country for fronting Andy’s Wild Adventures and Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures). It may be his first appearance at the Hippo, but it’s no surprise to learn that he’s already performed in several pantomimes including Aladdin, Cinderella and Dick Whittington, as he shines in this one. He’s so likeable that I find myself hoping that he’ll get to marry Snow White – well it is Christmas, so it could happen, right?
Bristol’s favourite ‘babber’ Andy Ford, has become a firm favourite with Hippodrome audiences: this will be his seventh consecutive panto here. When he comes on stage, the audience erupts and he really does seem to have been made for pantomime, whether he’s called upon to perform a silly dance, interview quiet young audience members or find just the right moment for popping in an improvised line. Extraordinary traffic chaos in Bristol on Tuesday leads to a stream of latecomers being ushered in during the first act, but Andy addresses them, telling them not to worry, as he’ll go back and show them what they’ve missed – and off he goes to briefly recap, finishing by reminding us,
“And I was brilliant!”
The two Andys retain the comedy baton until the dwarfs finally make their entrance, so far into act one that I’ve almost forgotten which fairytale I’m watching! Warwick Davis of Star Wars, Willow and Harry Potter fame (amongst many other amazing roles) heads up the dwarfs in a charming and amusing way. Warwick’s acting career came about purely by chance when his Grandmother heard a radio announcement calling for ‘short people’ to appear in the new Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi. He played the tiny Ewok Wicket, who became one of the film’s lead creature characters and the rest is history. His fellow dwarfs convey clearly defined individual personalities and are a jolly likeable bunch – even the miserable Grumbly! Their colourful cottage deep in the woods and diamond mine with jewel-like, light-encrusted walls add even more sparkle to this flamboyant Snow White panto.
Kim Ismay plays wicked, beautiful Queen Morgiana, glamorously clad in red velvet and has the powerful voice and stage presence to suit the role. Snow White is played by Francesca Lara Gordon who’s starring in her first major role since graduating from The Arts Educational School, London. She demonstrates a great rapport with her friends Muddles and the seven dwarfs.
My youngest son isn’t prepared for the spectacularly evil Queen at the start and is quite worried when she first appears, but becomes used to her after a while and even joins in with a little booing later on! The following day he complains of hearing strange noises, so some sort of ear defender might be wise to protect delicate little ears, with the added benefit of toning down the scariness of the Queen!
There’s also a ghoulish scene in the forest but this doesn’t seem to bother him or the six-year-old sitting in front of us at all.
Of all the characters on the stage, who do you think appeals to him most? Shaun the Sheep of course. His face lights up when he sees him – clearly the star of the show from a seven-year-old’s point of view!
SNOW WHITE PANTO – THE VERDICT?
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a fabulous fairytale with all the elements we’d expect of a pantomime: Songs, sparkling costumes, a live band, dance routines, slapstick comedy and plenty of audience participation, plus the magnificent sets and costumes for which The Bristol Hippodrome panto is famous.
I’m not the greatest fan of slapstick comedy, but if you get to go and see the show, watch out for the scene with Snow White, Muddles and the Herman on a wall, singing “Something’ Stupid”. It makes me laugh out loud!
Panto sound can be quite booming so I lose some of the singing under loud music and miss hearing the odd line of dialogue, but despite this, we really enjoy the Snow White panto. Having watched the previous two pantomimes at the Hippodrome, I have to say that this was our favourite so far. The story is well suited for a family audience and what a great way of getting into the Christmas spirit!
READ THE FULL GUIDE TO BRISTOL HIPPODROME SHOWS
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CHECK OUT OTHER BRISTOL HIPPODROME SHOW REVIEWS
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If a visit to Father Christmas is one your Christmas wish list, check out our guide to the Best Santa Grottos in Bristol, North Somerset and Nearby, including booking information, ticket costs and accessibility details and some unusual and fun ways to see Father Christmas like on a steam train, a boat or even on the pier!
DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW.
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.
*MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS