Theatre review: Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

Jennifer Ellison in Snow White
Jennifer Ellison in Snow White

Festive pantomime Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs isn’t short on laughs at Milton Keynes Theatre.

The family show, which runs until January 12, stars Life’s Too Short and An Idiot Abroad actor Warwick Davis as Prof, Jennifer Ellison as the Wicked Queen, Kev Orkian as Herbert, Kate Stewart as Snow White and Shaun Dalton as the Prince.

Incredible costumes, rib-tickling innuendos, corny gags involving the number of roundabouts in Milton Keynes and sparkly sets made this a panto treat for all ages and it’s just the right length to avoid fidgeting in seats.

The evening had a cinematic feel to it to begin with as a large screen asked people to switch off their mobile phones and then showed a couple of adverts. I was beginning to think I should have taken in popcorn until the show began, with an amusing spoof introduction from Warwick Davis, who has starred in the Star Wars and Harry Potter films.

The panto was slick throughout, with all the usual fun audience interaction and a good pace to the performance. The only perplexing thing was the names of the dwarfs which had been slightly altered from the well known film, making Doc the Prof and so on.

Jennifer Ellison gave a superb performance as the Wicked Queen, proving she’s come a very long way since her Brookside days and knocking out some great numbers with her lovely voice, including one with some particularly amusing lyrics about knocking Mary Berry off her baking top spot with the cauldron brew she was conjuring up to kill off Snow White.

Warwick Davis received the largest cheer from the audience when he came on to the stage and delivered his incredibly wordy role with gusto and exactly the right amount of necessary authority yet love-ableness.

All the dwarfs take part in a mock talent contest which underlies the action and it has some hilarious moments, especially the star turns from Loopy (Danny Blackner) and Grumbly (Peter Burroughs). And who knew Davis had such a great singing voice and ability at impersonations, without giving too much away?

Another stellar performance came from Kev Orkian, who had the children laughing in the aisles with his toilet humour gags and brilliant facial expressions. Four children won golden tickets in their programmes and were led on to stage, where he improvised fantastically. How he kept a straight face was beyond me at points where I had tears of laughter streaming down my face.

My friend’s seven-year-old son had the quote of the night, for me, though when I asked him for his verdict on the panto: “I thought Snow White was cute, quite cute, and my older brother and dad would think so too if they were here.

“And I liked the fart jokes too.”

His mum is still reeling.