So Yesterday I was lucky enough to get to watch The Wight Strollers Annual Pantomime, which this year was ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’. The show was, as usual, in aid of local charities and was an absolute belter. Allow me now to review it for you.
The show started with the continually excellent music from George King and Sam Edwards before the stage was swarmed with the best of the best of Island talent in the form of The Wight Strollers.
The opening lines were spoken by a magically captivating Lucinda Rigby as Fairy Fortune, the good fairy and story teller of the show who had the audience on board from her first word. This was her first speaking role with The Wight Strollers since she joined at the age of 4, but you would never know that from the confidence in which she opened the show and interjected into scenes.
Elisa Jones bought an equally impressive performance as villain Queen Avarice. I always feel as though the villain is the hardest part to play as the audience have to dislike you from the very beginning and you must be welcomed to the stage with a sea of boo-ing and hissing, of course off putting for any performer, but Elisa coped with it extraordinarily well and was even taunting the very keen audience. Her musical number had me torn between clapping and boo-ing as I couldn’t work out whether I should praise the incredible voice or boo the evil character-Which I loved.Edna Bucket, The Panto Dame, Played by David Kast bought an absolutely hilarious performance adding jokes for both children and adults and looked absolutely divine, a favourite part for me was watching Edna mirror Avarice in the mirror as it was perfectly timed and done so well, you could tell they worked hard on it in rehearsals.
Justice Quill and Scribbles played by Stuart Egan and Tim Smith respectively were a perfect pairing and added humour in the form of purposely awful ‘dad jokes’ and were reminiscent of classic double acts such as The 2 Ronnies, Morecambe & Wise and Enfield & Whitehouse.
Bringing his own brand of ridiculousness to proceedings was comedic genius Michael Mullin as Chuckles whose interaction with the audience had me in laughter often more than his silly jokes and puns. Although the puns were bad they were told perfectly to get the right reaction that puns should, that sort of groany laughter when you don’t want to admit something is funny, which is a reaction often made around Michael when he is telling jokes, so he’s has plenty of practise.
The dwarfs themselves had some of my favourite scenes, whether it be the completely hysterical breakfast scene or the brilliant scenes in the Diamond mine, each was bought to the stage with conviction, stupidity and brilliance, along with a whole host of jokes referring to height. Amanda Gregory headed the troupe with all the confidence you would expect from Brainy. John Woodford was reminiscent of Russell Grant as Smiley which made me extremely happy to watch. Rob Jones as Sniffle had the greatest on stage sneezes I have ever seen and was almost too believable. Karen Cassford as Snoozy had me smiling from ear to ear each time she would fall asleep, at annoyance to the other dwarfs. Jennifer Hills played Blushful in such a way that I was excited to hear every line she said, no matter how few there were, each one was delivered in a beautifully endearing way. Patrick Barry played Dozy in only a way Patrick Barry can, in the most ridiculous and utterly bonkers manner and was so almost my favourite dwarf of the show but that honour went to Grumbly, played insanely well by the usually happy, smiley and lovely Sarah Scotcher, The contrast she had to the other dwarfs was jaw-droppingly side-splitting and the quick-wit and sarcy comments came from her in the most perfect of ways, just her facial expressions were enough to make me laugh, let alone the voice and the lines she was saying.Equally, and surprisingly, hilarious were Nick Weightman’s portrayal of his characters. His characterisation of Slurp had the audience and myself in stitches throughout his lines but he really stole the show as Merlin of the Mirror, his deep masculine voice was completely contradicted when Merlin was finally freed from the mirror and what followed was utterly fabulous, A tribute to Freddie Mercury, complete with Pink tank top, leather skirt and hoover, along with Michael Mullin in a musical number never to be forgotten, no matter how much you try.
Special mentions should go to: Lottie & Sarah Harris for their incredible singing as The Mirror Singers; all of the talented dancers; Daisy Croain who made the audience laugh as The Bear; and all of the chorus, especially Ches Checkley-Hill who had more makeup on than the rest of the cast-and looked stunning.But of course no panto is complete without an utterly perfect Prince and Princess, and The Wight Strollers did not disappoint. Prince Ferdinand was played by the drop-dead gorgeous Harlequin Hodgson-Tuck with such prominence and suave-ness and Snow White was played by the glamorously stunning Emily Scotcher who really channeled her inner Disney Princess both on and off stage.
Overall the show was superbly directed by Sarah Scotcher and was written perfectly by Alan P Frayn to get a hell of a lot of comedy, but still not so much that the beautiful story was lost. The people behind the Set construction and Scenery design should also be applauded for an incredibly delightful stage dressing. But, star of the backstage show has to be Karen Cassford and her wardrobe team for all of the amazing costumes, all of which were made from scratch and looked so much better than anything you could buy especially Snow White’s wedding dress.
This show was quite possibly one of the best pantomimes I’ve ever seen and I’m so glad I have finally watched a Wight Strollers production and will definitely be back next year.
For now, I’d love to thank and congratulate every one who was part of this show either on or off stage on such a brilliant and entertaining night.
The Wight Strollers next show will be Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and will be performed on the 9th & 10th of July-This is a show not to be missed and tickets are on sale now, you can find them HERE – You better be quick, they’ll sell fast.
Until Next Time,
Go and Watch a Show,
By Mitch Hamer
Originally posted on Mitch’s blog.