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Panto Perfection!

Snow White and the 7 Ninjas. Rugby Theatre 20 - 29 January 2023. Review.

Forget Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go – and let’s have a bit of Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting as Snow White met up with 7 Ninjas at Rugby Theatre.

Loved the quirky twist to this classic panto, which was written by Kevin Bright and directed by Emma Bright. It retained all that traditional fun, laughter, cheering, booing, music, singing, dancing, slapstick – and plenty of that good old, ‘He’s behind you!’ audience participation.

Casting for the roles could hardly have been better, Bethan Amos was the perfect sweet and kind Snow White, Jessica Horner took on the role of the dashing Prince Hamilton with confidence, lots of thigh slapping (their own thigh!) and a powerful singing voice. There was no Buttons in this panto but there was a Velcro – lively, energetic and full of fun Robbie Bladon. Velcro was in love with Snow White’s best friend, Goldilocks (Jayde Dankaro) who was never satisfied – things were either too hard or too soft. Luckily, she thought Velcro was ‘just right!’

The classic role of the Panto Dame was Stephen Bradnam alias Wendy Wibble Wobble who was bright, garish and funny and had a crush – literally, on Ninja Taramis of Shadizar (Michael Read). As for the Evil Queen (Libby Lowe) she took evil to new heights - would that be depths? Incredible voice even when she was just talking, and the audience just loved to boo her and 'snitch' on her at the drop of a hat. “Oh no they didn’t – Oh yes they did!”

Everyone played their roles so well I don't want to miss anyone out. The two henchmen, Rob (Kirsty Bright) and Nick (Trevor McClay) made a great double act; the King (Peter Privett) was regal but a bit of a softie in the hands of the Evil Queen. The Mirror (John Tweddle) was mysterious and poetic (sort of!) Then onto the Ninjas – not exactly your typical powerful Leonardos, except for Taramis, but we did have Tiny Ninja, Ginger Ninja, Nanny Ninja complete with walking stick, also Betty, Yorvig and Connie – who each made their part their very own.

The dancers and dance routines were excellent - the young dancers really shone. Choreography was by Carrie Gamble and Musical Director Caroline Tavinor – and some great songs, routines and costumes. In fact all the costumes were amazing – and a very neat little costume change on stage by the Evil Queen was noted as being rather clever – well done to the wardrobe crew!

And last but not least the fabulous three narrators: Rosie Fuller, Suzanne Swan and Kristel Bianco. They were three little pigs, three bears and three blind mice, and an absolute delight to watch and listen to – so funny with bags of personality.

Well done all the back-stage crew and the team behind the scenes as well as the volunteers who looked after the audience. Super team work. And talking of which – an absolute highlight of the whole show for me was the performance of the ‘If I was not upon the stage’ routine. Brilliant!

Snow White and the 7 Ninjas, Rugby Theatre, 20-29 January 2023.


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