"Cross Dressed Snow White Delight"
by Michael Gray for remotegoat on 09/12/15

It's not every panto that opens Act Two with a funeral. But that's typical of the alternative take on the genre offered by Charles Court Opera. This is their ninth “boutique pantomime”, decamped for the first time to the King's Head.
John Savournin's script has plenty of weird and wonderful twists – Snow White is the widow of the late great Barry – who flies in for a gueat appearance. And following a “cease and desist” from the Disney Corp the dwarfs are carefully re-christened: Gleeful, Crabby and poor old hippy Half Baked, blown to bits just before the interval.
But there's plenty of traditional festive fun – familiar jokes [tainted money, full frontal lobotomy, we were so poor, a warm hand on your entrance …] and even a bake-off food fight escalating from mini buns to cream pies. An eclectic clutch of songs, too, the lyrics re-worked by Savournin's co-writer and MD David Eaton. Reach For The Stars, A Natural Woman and of course Man In The Mirror. Plus a brilliant One Day More mash-up. Since this is an opera company, we're treated to marvellous unplugged voices, too.
Andrea Tweedale opens the show – after a snatch of prog-rock Polovtsian – as the Wicked Queen, Matthew Kellett plays all of the little people, Nichola Jolley is Harry, the valet turned frog footman, Amy J Payne makes a superb Larry, the Black Prince of Pretzel in a prominent purple cod-piece and Savournin himself plays a wonderful dame Snow White, squeezed like Alice into the bijou dwarf house [William Fricker's delightful design]. Their cross-dressed Aretha Franklin duet one of many priceless highlights.
The script is sparing with the topical/local references, though we do get the Garden Bridge, and a couple of Frozen gags. The space is ingeniously used, with the vast mirror concealing the dwarf kitchen and the forest, and the furry critters of the chorus popping up from windowsill and suitcase.
As usual, a brilliant blend of the familiar and the fantastic, “shimmering and glimmering” at the King's Head well into the New Year.

Add your review? Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Michael Gray
Othello's Guilt, a monologu... Othello tormented by anguished guilt
The Alchemist fast and furious Jonson farce
Measure for measure Short Measure successful and succinct
Much Ado About Nothing war-thoughts and wooing on Bankside
A musical journey through H... varied scenery and spectacular views
HAMLET by William Shakespeare earnest exploration of Hamlet's troubles
Crick Crack Club Presents T... Tales told in a tent
Trial By Jury and The Zoo Delectable double bill of Sullivan
Travesties by Tom Stoppard Clever nonsense in vintage Stoppard
The Comedy of Errors by Wil... Shakespeare farce out of suitcases
Patience G&S in the Public Bar
Neighbourhood Watch by Alan... a lukewarm late dark Ayckbourn
The Comedy Of Errors by Wil... 1920s Twins in the Park
Calendar Girls Yorkshire Ladies lose their inhibitions
Macbeth: In Pitch Black Scottish play for five voices
'Stepping Out' by Richard H... They tap their troubles away
Sonneteers come to the rose! Birthday verses at the Rose
Six Characters in Search of... Powerful pocket Pirandello on Bankside
DIDO QUEEN OF CARTHAGE by C... Early Marlowe in original Rose
Canary Gold Fraud, finance and fine wine