As has been our family tradition for the past 6 years, last night we enjoyed the annual fun-fest at Norwich Theatre Royal that is their family pantomime – for 2015, Snow White.
This year, it was made a bit more special by the fact that for the first time we went as a family of four. Almost 4 years old, it was Littlest Man’s first ever Panto.
As with every year, it thoroughly delivered on all counts of family entertainment: laughs, songs, dancing and lashings of seasonal merriment. All the cast were superb and the upbeat musical numbers had Littlest Man out of his seat and grooving even into the last minutes of the show (way past his usual bedtime).
Each year, the Theatre Royal pantomime seems to get bigger and brighter, and Snow White certainly proves the case in point. The best we’ve seen yet? Quite possibly.
Unlike most years for me, Richard Gauntlett’s cheeky Dame (Nurse Dorothy Dumpling) – though very humorous (his description of Great Yarmouth is perhaps the funniest line of the night) – didn’t steal the show (though he did write and direct the panto, so perhaps you could argue that it’s still all him). Instead, if I had to pick the very best part of the 2015 panto (for me personally), it’d be the sets. Absolutely beautiful in colour and sparkle, with lots of special effects, they really were breathtaking. Ditto the costumes. Wonderful.
Cast-wise, Ben Langley’s ‘Muddles’ is utterly hilarious and had me chuckling throughout. Greta, his ‘Goat’ charge only adds to this hilarity and the appearance of ‘Bat Goat’ tickled my boys even more than Richard and Ben dressed as highly questionable super-heroes.
Jennifer Ellison is a fantastic villain in the form of Queen Evilynne, camping it up with excellent comic timing and managing to be sufficiently ‘evil’ without being too scary for younger theatre-goers.
The songs include toe-tapping, clap-along favourites from The Sound of Music, as well as contemporary picks, and climax in a crowd-pleasing Queen medley. When we arrived home, full of sweets and bleary-eyed at almost 11 o’clock, Littlest Man was singing ‘They are the Champions’ as he sleepily took off his shoes and coat.
Other highlights have to be the Magic Mirror (though you’ll find no spoiler here – you’ll have to see it for yourself) – inspired idea, and the Dwarfs – Muppet-esque puppets made by Norwich’s very own Puppet Theatre.
And the litmus test after one’s first ever Pantomime? Snow White seems to have passed with (glorious) flying colours after Littlest Man asked this morning if we could go again. Now he’s already looking forward to Jack and the Beanstalk in 2016!
Snow White is on now until Sunday January 17, 2016. Tickets £7-£21.50.
Discounts for Friends, Over-60s and Under-18s.
Signed performances on Saturday 9 January at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Audio-described performances on Monday 4 January at 1pm, Friday 8 January at 7.30pm and Saturday 16 January at 2.30pm.
Captioned performances on Sunday 10 January at 1pm and 5pm.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.