By Claudia Bradley
Written by Angelina Harvey, the President of the Theatre Arts Society, there wasn’t a beat of humour missed in its nearly two-hour run time. Under Tyler Reuben’s direction, each character sparkled and the story unfolded with charming ease, so it’s no wonder the panto sold out its third and final showing at the Lakeside Theatre. There were some truly hilarious additions that stayed true to the classic fairytale, but made it obvious this panto was lovingly crafted by students and for students from start to finish.
Lolly Taylor was a sincere and sweet Snow White, bringing laughter from the audience with her own quips and reactions as the show went on, set against a town featuring ‘Aurora’s Rest Stop’ and ‘Belle Tower’. Her voice was steady as she executed Leah Malkinson’s immaculate choreography, and her blue shirt, yellow skirt, and red bow perfectly echoed the Disney princess attire. She was a lovely protagonist for the audience to support, shouting the classic “He’s behind you!” as she escaped through the woods and found a friend in Daisy, the Milk-It Cow.
The Wicked Queen, played by the spectacular Lucy Carpenter, seemed to enjoy every moment of villainy as she strutted across the stage and enchanted the audience with her vocals. The Queen’s Understudy (Jasmine Thompson) and two guards, Soggy (Eamon El Bendary) and Bottom (Daniel Jacobson) all built a chaotic humour around the wickedness of the Queen, particularly as the guards tumbled and searched for the princess.
Dame Dolly, played by Dan Casey, was Panto-perfect; she had the audience in stitches as she joked about misunderstanding stage directions and flirted with men in the audience, as befits the classic role. Eden Camara was appropriately embarrassed as her son, Billy the Jester, but he earned his own sympathy from the audience as he secretly pined for Snow White, his best friend. Prince Henry of Nowhere (Corey Lee) swaggered down the stairs of the theatre with all the ladies—including Snow White and Dame Dolly—besotted with him. While this panto enjoyed the classic character roles, it successfully subverted expectations.
The seven dwarves who found the princess in her moment of need were a lively rock n’ roll band, decked out in merch and tattoos, and sincere in their efforts to save her. The Huntsman (Matthew Duffield) eventually joined the quest to save Snow White, even if he did kill the Milk-It Cow and bring its heart to the Queen in a horrifying but spectacular choice in the story.
And at last, after the Queen consulted the magic mirror (Alice Bain, whose costume consisted of a green morph suit, a mirror frame around her face, and yellow shorts) and successfully spelled Snow White to sleep using the poison apple (played by a sassily seductive Joao Faria) it was Billy who woke the princess with true love’s kiss. Their duet to accompany their romantic declarations earned large applause and joyful cheers.
With every scene entertaining, and many magical moments, this classic panto is fit for any stage.