REVIEW: Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Playhouse Whitley Bay

Some of the Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs cast outside the Playhouse Whitley Bay.
Some of the Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs cast outside the Playhouse Whitley Bay.

A heartwarming family panto filled with song, laughter and the freakiest seven dwarfs you’re ever likely to encounter.

If you ever wondered where Bruce Forsyth had gone after leaving Strictly Come Dancing, wonder no more… he’s dwarf number three in this Blue Genie Entertainment production of Snow White!

Steve Walls, as Muddles, gets a lift off Odd Job, played by Rebecca Shorrocks.

Steve Walls, as Muddles, gets a lift off Odd Job, played by Rebecca Shorrocks.

The motley crew of dwarfs aside, this is the seventh year that Blue Genie has staged the Whitley Bay panto and it is, by far, the best yet.

Panto stalwart Steve Walls as Muddles effectively runs the show, but it’s some inspired casting that really sets this production apart from the rest.

Faye Tozer, she of Steps fame, is brilliantly boo-tiful as the Wicked Queen and clearly relished ditching the the goodie two shoes pop image for a Christmas of jeers.

But Rebecca Shorrocks as Muddles’ equally dumb sidekick Odd Job was exceptional. Her goofy rapport with Muddles and her tagline “laters taters” won over the youngsters in the audience.

Any Dream Will Do finalist Rob McVeigh was suitably cast, and attired, as the handsome Prince Charming while Charlotte Chinn as Snow White proved she could hold a note, cut a rug and melt the heart.

With Disney lawyers hot on copyright infringement, panto companies up and down the land have to ditch the dwarfs’ most recognised names (Bashful, Doc, Sneezy, etc) in favour of something close but not quite right. Sneezy, for instance, becomes Sniffles. And there’s strictly no rendition of “Heigh Ho, It’s off to Work We Go.”

Blue Genie distance themselves even further from the Disney version with their dwarfs wearing huge stuffed cloth heads with voiceovers not a million miles from Bruce Forsyth, Simon Cowell, Keith Lemon and Louis Walsh! Weird and, at a stretch, wonderful.

What was definitely wonderful were the traditional set pieces. If you judge a show by audience reaction, then Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a screaming success.

The now annual ‘shout-out-if-you-see-the-ghost sketch’ had the place shuddering with screams from the audience.

And to cap a brilliant night, the whole of audience were on their feet and dancing to the Steps’ classic Tragedy with Faye Tozer turning her jeers to cheers as she lead the singalong.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs proved itself, once again, to be the small town panto with a big heart. Great stuff.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs at the Playhouse Whitley Bay until Sunday, January 3. For tickets contact 0844 248 1588 or visit www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk