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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Royal and Derngate Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Disclaimer: tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

Royal and Derngate's annual pantomime has become a regular festive highlight in the Beyond the Curtain calendar and this year's offering of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs serves up another complete delight.

Lauren Lane (Snow White) and Joey Wilby (Muddles) and the Ensemble. Photo by Pamela Raith.

Evolution Productions returns with Paul Hendy again writing a script that is full to the brim of fun and laughter and his wife Emily Wood directing. Whilst many of the pantomime troupes are here it all feels fresh rather than repetitive. There are bundles of laughs that are expertly delivered by the cast and none of it feels forced. 

The fun begins even before the show starts with a camera pointed at the audience and a big screen showing the reactions. This is a wonderful way to warm the audience up and create an atmosphere before the show. This happens again in the interval.

The titular Snow White is played by the warm Lauren Lane who has a lovely stage presence and a voice that delights. She is loved by those around her, all except the deliciously evil Wicked Queen played by Wendi Peters who relishes her villainous role as she tries to rid the world of Snow White and claim the title of the 'fairest in the land'. In pre-recorded scenes, Alan Carr appears on screen as the Magic Mirror. The scenes see the company bounce off the video and this works fairly well but do lack a little in humour.

Ore Oduba exudes confidence as Prince Charming. Oduba has carved a successful career on stage in the last few years having played Brad Majors in Rocky Horror and is returning to the role of Happy Man in Pretty Woman The Musical after the run in Northampton. Here he is a safe pair of hands in the prince role and shows why his stage career has taken off.

Joey Wilby is excellent as Muddles who instantly has the audience on his side. Wilby's confidence is clear to see and he lights up the stage every time he appears. He is ably matched by Marc Pickering as Herman the Henchman. Pickering is lively and full of fun, he relishes in a phony accent and he constantly delivers fun with the gags. The recurring notion of him dreaming of performing on the stage one day, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes to fruition in the second act with a showstopping moment that I won't spoil.

Bob Golding (Nurse Nellie), Wendi Peters (Wicked Queen), Ore Oduba (Prince Charming), Joey Wilby (Muddles) and Marc Pickering (Herman). Photo by Pamela Raith

Royal and Derngate's favourite Dame returns once more as Bob Golding dons the dresses of Nurse Nellie. Golding is again tremendous and thrives in every lavish costume designed by Michael J Batchelor. He is a complete ease in the role and bounces off everyone around him including plenty of audience interaction with his love interest for this performance a gentleman called Dave. One of Golding's funniest moments is a brief cameo in Herman's dream sequence, again which I won't spoil but it had the audience in complete stitches. 

The titular Seven Dwarfs are loveable from their first appearance. Though small in stature the seven actors have personalities that fill the theatre. Each is magnificently individual and unique and delights the audience. Kain Francis steals the audience's hearts as the silent Loopy who falls and rolls with gymnastic skill. 

Morgan Brind's colourful and bright sets are fabulous to look at and set each scene with Mark Dymock's lighting adding atmosphere that varies from fear to hope and much more. Gary Jerry returns as Musical Director who also plays keys with two other musicians Ben Hartley on Drums and Manolo Polidario on Guitar. The three of them deliver the soundscape well and the musical choices throughout help the piece feel fresh.

The show has it all, a wonderful array of characters, endless amounts of laughter and fun and is engaging and watchable. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will charm you this Christmas. A treat for all ages.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs plays at Royal and Derngate until Sunday 31st December 2023. Tickets are available from
Lauren Lane (Snow White) and the Seven Dwarfs. Photo by Pamela Raith.

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