Saturday, 11 December 2021

Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome Review

Press image for Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome, featuring Andy Ford, Lesley Joseph and Judge Rinder in costume, smiling
 This week we were lucky enough to be invited to the free press night showing of a classic tale: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We did a little dance when the invitation came our way because while we were all sat indoors, twiddling our thumbs, eagerly awaiting the day we can look at this pandemic and say - “It’s behind you!” getting an invitation to escape it for a few hours was the next best thing. The pantomime is showing until January 2nd and you can get your tickets via this link www.atgtickets.comIt was a magical experience to see the Bristol Hippodrome eagerly throw its safety curtain up and doors wide open after this year of turmoil for the theatre industry. 

The classic tale was peppered with comforting, familiar scenes and faces (welcome back Andy Ford aka Muddles– congratulations on your 9th appearance at the Bristol Hippodrome). There were a few unexpected twists on a classic, including tweaks to the dwarfs' names for copyright reasons, making it a memorable, unique experience that might leave some traditionalists feeling a little “Cranky” and although “Silly” in places, we left the venue feeling “Cheery” and still singing the songs days later. 

The Pantomime opened with a beautiful solo sung by Charlotte Haines as Snow White. She instantly captured the attention and imagination of even the youngest, most energetic audience members right from the start. The surprise talent of the evening, better known for his legal expertise, came from Robert Rinder MBE who was fantastic as The Man in the Mirror. He added a welcome sparkle from his outfits to his sassy exchanges with Lesley Joseph as Queen Dragonella. We had no idea this was his first Pantomime until we read it in the program. 

Judge Rinder on stage, resplendent in a white sparkly cat suit, surrounded by dancers festooned in huge white feathers

 What really took our breath away was the unconventional use of props and technology to bring a modern twist to this classic. Although some theatre traditionalists may disapprove, we felt that it added something different that made us feel excited for next year when Craig Revel Horwood leads the cast. We loved the fresh approach and felt that it really brought the children into the pantomime, instead of just bringing the pantomime to them. Another aspect that surprised us was the use of taller actors on their knees playing the dwarfs, as opposed to dwarf actors. This is something we had never seen done before and wondered if it might be due to pandemic restrictions.   

 The best of the show could be seen in the small details. One detail that stood out to me was the occasional mention of Strictly Come Dancing (which Lesley Joseph took part in, in 2016), then during one of the songs two of the women (Purple and Yellow) from the ensemble were dancing together, which felt like a touching tribute to the recent addition of the first same-sex couple on Strictly Come Dancing within 2021.  

Snow White on stage in full voice, wearing the traditional costume, with three couples dancing behind her in different coloured flamboyant outfits

 The last few years have been difficult for everyone, for so many reasons, especially those in the theatre industry. The lockdown was referenced and Queen Dragonella gave a poignant speech and the end of the show thanking us for being a great audience but really I would like to thank the Actors and all those behind the scenes who bravely scripted and produced this pantomime, unsure if it would go ahead and then sprinkling it with uplifting mentions of the last few years, such as the Purple and Yellow dancers and the occasional joke about lockdown and loo rolls and how absurd it all looked when you took a step back. 

 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs gave us permission to laugh, breathe and feel optimism again. I left that theatre with a sense of community, feeling like I would do whatever it takes to get live theatre back up and running again. Don’t just go to see a pantomime, go to drink in the atmosphere and come out feeling light, refreshed, and optimistic for the new year. 

Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome


1 comment

  1. Ahh! This sounds like a great show. Panto's are such fun and it is good that they are going ahead this year x


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