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What a great evening's entertainment - Griffins have pulled it off again.  Adult pantos can be difficult to pitch, but I thought this one, although quite near the knuckle in some places, got it just right.

The whole production was well-conceived, right from the ladders on stage before curtain, to Terry Hayden sitting holding a piece of rope during the entire performance - for no reason whatsoever, just a piece of comic business that lent intrigue and fun.

The back clothes, sets and props were all good, colourful and suitable for the cast to be able to move around with ease, even with Terry in situ!  The whole ambience of the show was enhanced by some terrific lighting effects, designed by Ben Houghton, who is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the lighting field.

Duncan Askew was on sound, and this was excellent throughout.

Costumes were beautiful - classy and fresh, and although there were some rather risqué features, the fact that the costumes were of such good standard meant that these were acceptable. Well done Dee Lovelock.

Musically the production was excellent - James Driver always comes up with super arrangements. Great to have a live band, it lifts the standard of the whole production.  The trio also sang the overture to Act 2, which was a different feature that worked well.

I loved the opening - right from the H&S announcement, to the cast appearing to be in the White House, then realising that they should be on stage - hilarious, and shows the thought that went into the whole production - Richard Lovelock is so good at taking what could be a problem if it happened and turning it to his advantage as part of the show.

I loved Megan Blower as Snow White, she looked so beautiful, sweet and charming, her final rant after being left in her coffin was both startling and entertaining.  Lovely costume, and I was also impressed by her continued level of singing during the shoe scene - an uproarious moment.

Ben Jaggers was a fun Prince Charming - who kept the spoonerisms all the way through.  Not an easy thing to do.  I also loved when the Queen's spell turned him into a dog - he got the actions very well, creating another dimension to his character.  Again his costume was inspired.

The Wicked Queen was played by Lorna Trapp, who as always made the most of her characterisation.  The use of audience members to act as the mirror voice was a good ruse, and enlarged the scope of audience participation.  Lorna looked the part in her lovely bright mauve costume - lovely but evil.  The lighting in her lair was inspired.  We loved being able to boo her.

Tim Hayden again brought his brand of full-on humour to the deaf King - he always brings that little bit extra to a part, whilst looking very well-dressed, again I loved his costume.  The zimmer frame was a good touch, and created some funny moments, not least when he swung it over his head in the woodland scene, narrowly missing the person who was 'behind him'!!

Great to see one of my favourite young men Joe Price, back again.  He played a very comic Stable Boy, with a name determined by the audience?  Joe kept the character and his funny voice going throughout, and I loved his reaction to Snow White's outburst - he was frozen to the spot, but expressive eyes.

Andy Sizmur was the Huntsman and Stable Boy's father - Andy really relaxed into the role and gave it such fun - well done, and also on his solo, which was one of those that is great when it goes well, which it did the night I was there!

I loved the interaction between the King, the Stable Boy and the Huntsman, they sparked off each other, so funny.

The ensemble of Michele Rolt, Luke Murphy, Lynda Fagan, Hannah Synan-Jones, Kate Johnson and Stacey Peck, created some super characters along the way.  I loved the Fairies, a good take on the choreography for balletic(?) fairies.  Then they were the six dwarfs, with the excellent idea of getting an audience member to join in as the 7th dwarf.  On the night I was there this was Adam Winfield, who really entered into the spirit of things, and gave it his all.

I must make mention of stage manager Josh Thompson, who once again could not let a production go by without appearing on stage - this time as a very non-PC character in the 'It's Behind You' scene!!  Nice one Josh!

Once again Griffins gave us a well-acted and well-sung production, with lots of audience participation, performances that did not falter and maintaining a high standard throughout. I loved it, and came away feeling that I had been royally entertained. There is no reason why an adult panto should be anything but as high a standard as a straight play or musical - and this production proved the case in point.



review date: 6th Feb 2014


Director: Richard Lovelock  MD: James Driver

Choreographer:  Katy Elliott

MD:  Beth Thomas


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