snow white cast

Picture: Pamela Raith

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

Lichfield Garrick


This is the seventh consecutive pantomime produced by Evolution productions for the Garrick, with an eighth already booked in for next Christmas, Sleeping beauty. This year the season is its longest ever, from 25th Nov through until 8th Jan 2023, responding to strong advanced ticket demand.

Over the years, local boy/dame made good, Sam Rabone from Sutton Coldfield, has secured an increasingly prominent part in the production.

 This year he not only stars as the Dame, Nurse Nellie, he also directs. He is enormously experienced as well as prodigiously talented, before the show we reminisced about when we both appeared in an amateur Panto some fifteen years ago. It is great to see local talent being given a chance, and prospering, nationally, and internationally in a fiercely competitive and unforgiving business.

Writer Paul Hendry is a literary and media polymath with strings of professional panto productions to his name. He understands how pantomime works and is happy to sweat the formula whilst still reinvigorating it with modernity. I have been going to pantomime now for sixty years, but brought two excited five year old boys, Seth and Cody, panto first timers, to ensure that I brought fresh ears and eyes to what was presented to us.

The story as we know it today has had three main incarnations. Its origins lie in medieval folklore, laid out formally first by the Grimm brothers in 1812, but popularised by Disney in its 1937 film. So fortunately, there is a fair bit of dramatic latitude in what fresh productions can do with the story.

Rabone is the centrepiece of the show around which all else revolves. His Dame is not fey, effeminate or limp-wristed, eschewing their comic possibilities, instead she is masculine and brash. He plays the part as a bloke in a dress, and the main joke teller, with a combination of expert timing, and apposite ad libs. Rabone chose Phil in the audience as her love interest for a running gag culminating in the audience chanting his name to be taken backstage.

Snow White is engagingly performed by Maria Conneely and a plausible love interest for suitor Prince Charming Daniel Breakwell (for whom ridicule is nothing to be scared of), but only just. Both sing well and combine mellifluously during their duets.

Lindsay Bennett Thompson gives Rabone stiff competition for star turn in her portrayal of the Wicked Queen, a portrayal which was scarily convincing for our five year olds whom she had booing while the Dads were admiring her  comely black basque and taffeta skirt ensemble. Michael Palin makes a virtual video guest appearance via the magic mirror, as does Liz Truss- although her moment was as brief as her premiership.

George Akid had a prominent supporting role as Herman von Bad Apple enjoying a role which enabled him to channel his inner Freddie Mercury as he zipped through Queen’s greatest hits in the second half ably assisted by the dwarfs.

The dance routines and movement were of a consistently high standard making maximum use of the space the open set afforded, courtesy of Helga Wood, who was also responsible for the brightly costumed lavish wedding finale which was given that extra wow facto by stunning middle eastern style wedding attire.

Apart from the Queen sequence, the barnstorming first half rendition of I’m a Believer worked particularly well musically, ably supported by an energy filled ensemble.

This is a traditional pantomime stripped of risqué innuendo but stuffed full of good jokes and fun. Seth and Cody loved it as did the rest of the audience who gave the cast a well deserved rousing ovation at the end for a fine production , a credit to all involved.

Gary Longden


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