Friday 10 February 2012

Snow White & The Seven Poofs - Review

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews

December 8 2011

Snow White & The Seven Poofs COMES AGAIN!!!!

Directed by Simon Gross

The posters hail it as London’s naughtiest pantomime. Well it’s certainly not for children and it is indeed a filthy, vulgar and smutty night out. But the crude naughtiness of Snow White and the Seven Poofs actually embodies the traditions of fine British panto with more than a nod to the Carry On films, Benny Hill and the predominantly male cast also a reminder of the ENSA troupe in It Aint Half Hot Mum.

Anthony Poore, as the coquettish compere Tanya Hide, demurely warmed up the audience as they took their seats: the wicked Queen’s opening number, Pink’s Get The Party Started, accompanied by three appropriately horned devils, perfectly setting the tone. And where most pantomimes have one Dame, this show has two. Richard Byrne, (alter ego Titti la Camp on the gay cabaret circuit ) is a truly evil Queen, frequently upstaged by his henchman Horrible Hilda , played on this night by the outrageous transvestite Mrs Moore.

The Queen then asks of the magic mirror, who is the fairest in the land. In this production the talking Mirror is the Comic Lead performed crudely and cleverly by Kyle Stewart, making his West End debut. In true panto tradition throughout the show Stewart’s character encourages the audience to respond to his “Hello Boys and Girls ” line with a filthy reply. His ability to then put-down any audience heckling that arose showed a fabulous confidence in a performer so new to the stage. Tanya Hide swiftly returns as the story’s heroine, with immaculate hair and make-up, singing “Every Time You Touch Me, I Become a Hero”. One does not expect a pantomime transvestite to effectively mimic the voice of a mega star and Hide did not disappoint. Diana Ross, he aint, his singing voice being definitely a “demure masculine” – however his movement was excellent, and as the show’s choreographer, the strength of all the company’s dance routines, tightly performed on a tiny stage are a credit to his talent.

The classic story’s love interest is provided by Liam Ross-Mills as Prince Donkey Dick. Not an easy role, playing the straight man against such an outrageous paramour in Snow White, however at times Ross-Mills seemed too eager to strike a rapport with the audience at the expense of developing his character. No doubt, this can be improved over the show’s run. Mrs Moore’s crude delivery, and sheer profanity was a delight. I was reminded of numerous schoolboy jokes from years gone by (the old ones really are the best !) plus a few new gags too, and it is a testimony to the show’s vulgarity that none of them can be repeated in this review.

Like all pantomimes, some parts of the show are corny, and others are achingly hilarious. The incongruity of Byrne’s Susan Boyle performing “I Dreamed a Dream” was swiftly overtaken by a 7 part re-working of the old camptime classic, “If I Were Not Upon This Stage” , with Mrs Moore, as a nurse, reducing the audience to sobs of laughter each time she menacingly brandished her grotesquely oversized syringe. Notable too was Shamiso Mushambi providing much comedy in her role as a diminutive poof. Simon Gross has assembled a good show here, and if you’re looking for either a saucy girls night out, or just some good camp Christmas fun, you will not be disappointed. The show ends with a singalong of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, sending one off onto the cold streets with a grin on your face and a tune on your lips. Just what a pantomime’s supposed to do.

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