Winston Churchill would have been proud that the theatre that bears his name has once again produced a top notch pantomime. We will fight the Wicked Witch on the beach, we will fight her in the streets, and we will definitely fight that evil old hag in the Forbidden Forest, writes Michael Holland.
Yes, it is panto season in Bromley and with Eastenders’ Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) running the kingdom you know a few people are going to be told to ‘Shut it!’ And more often than not, it will be poor Muddles whose jolly countenance cuts no ice with a Queen who resorts to talking to her mirror to get updates on her ageing process. Muddles was also getting in a pickle when confusing ‘smart fella’ with ‘fart smeller’, much to the joy of the kids in the audience, while the ‘pheasant plucker’ gag was left for older members to enjoy…
Oliver Tompsett does dashing prince with ease, while Jason Sutton thrives in a wig and heels as Nurse Nancy and ensures there are plenty of double entendres to go round. The kids from the local dance academy do a fine job of filling the stage with life while Jessie Wallace prowls around, seemingly followed by a cloud of billowing smoke at all times, shouting at the booing and baying audience. But it is Peter Firman’s Muddles that brings together all the elements of this show. His banter and magic tricks are what pantos are about.
Nevertheless, it was the first entrance of the Seven Dwarves that amazed me – and just about everyone else in the theatre. Their very clever costumes had us wondering if they were really little people or highly disguised big people. Their movement and dancing was hilarious and I wish we could have had a lot more of them.
Panto season is short but very sweet, and all children should see one at least once a year.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is on at Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA until December 31st. Times: 1pm, 5pm, 7pm. Admission: £18 – £40. Phone: 0208 285 6000