By Phillip Stanley
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Anvil is a true gift of festive joy and entertainment.
Upon entering the theatre, we were greeted by friendly and welcoming staff who quickly make you feel comfortable and engaged in the fun about to unfold on stage. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, directed by Chris Pizzey, who also plays the loveable, energetic and comic Muddles, retells this classic story with some brilliant, crowd pleasing songs delivered by a talented live orchestra, led by Martyn Cooper.
Dani Harmer (Snow White) has a beautiful vocal quality to her singing and an effortless elegant energy as she moves across the stage, which is evident from the first time we meet her. Chris Warner Drake’s Prince is strong and a good choice of casting to match Harmer. His solo at the beginning of the second act was powerfully pitch-perfect and Kirsty Sparks (Evil Queen) was poised and commanding throughout. The comedic pairing of Pizzey (Muddles) and James Steen (Nurse Dolly) was fantastic from the very beginning.
The audience always plays a huge part in panto performances and on this occasion, the cast had to work hard for the first act with an initially quiet audience. This was none more evident than in Steen’s first scene where he refused to let us off easily and demanded a response with playful charm. The cast were rewarded for their perseverance as the audience livened up and brought into the action without direction.
The entrance of the Seven Dwarfs was a real highlight and the group had some lovely moments together with a real sense of ensemble on stage. The performance also included some talented dancers, both professional and from local dance troupes who created some moments of real magic, choreographed by Sarah Louise Day.
The costume designs were creative and well conceived and this was matched by some clever use of set, in particular the dwarfs house which is wheeled on and opened like a child’s dolls house.
Yes ok, and as in all panto’s, not every joke found the mark, there were some sections with a little too much dry ice and it maybe lasted a little too long, but even with these minor things in mind, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs really was a cracking Christmas treat which both myself and my daughter Harriet thoroughly enjoyed.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is playing at the Anvil until 6th January 2019 with tickets starting at around £19 and can be booked via the following link http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white