MIRROR mirror on the wall, could this be the best panto of all?
For the last 10 years, the father and son team of Clive Webb and Danny Adams have been ripping up the record books in Newcastle by pulling out blockbuster pantos that quite simply have it all.
This year is no exception.
Only Danny and Clive can pull off a traditional panto, yet manage to weave in dinosaurs, giant flying bats, Santa’s soaring sleigh and a team of hilarious Geordie dwarfs riding woodland creatures.
But for all the hi-tech gizmos, stunts and slapstick the true success of the show is the likeability of the leading duo, in particular, the boy who never grew up, Danny Adams.
Frenetic Danny, as Muddles, is a jumping, spinning, cartwheeling, crashing flat on his face, stuntman funnyman who delivers laughs at 100mph, only pausing for breath to deliver his now infamous catchphrase “Acciduunt!”
His poor dad Clive is, as ever, left floundering in his wake as the put upon stooge to Danny’s breakneck banter and madcap plans.
The supporting cast barely get a look-in, but when they do they make the most of their stage time.
Panto Dame Chris Hayward, this time playing Rita the Cook, always goes down well, when he can be heard above his above his costumes! Loud doesn’t do his spectacular outfits justice. Even Lady Gaga would balk at some of his outlandish garb. A garish pink and white number with a Bagpuss fur being my pick of the bunch.
The script is as tight as Rita’s corsets and heavily padded with laughs for all ages. On occasions they sail close to the wind with their jokes for the parents, but it only makes things all the more enjoyable.
Even the corny one liners hit the spot every time. (Prince: “What you know about the seven dwarfs.” Danny: “Very little.”)
The seven dwarfs were brilliant, led by, of all things, a mini Bobby Thompson who added a North East flavour to the traditional “Hi Ho” with their own chant of “Howay, howay, we come from Whitley Bay.”
Steve Arnott as evil Queen Lucretia chews up the scenery with aplomb, milking the boos at every opportunity, and Gary Watson as Prince William (of Wallsend) and Emily Shaw as Snow White are perfectly cast.
As if the acrobatics of Danny weren’t enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, the appropriately named tumblers The Acromaniacs were added to the mix.
For sheer spectacle I doubt there’s any panto comes close to this one. Little wonder it’s the fastest selling in the Theatre Royal’s history and the crew were quick to credit Newcastle-born producer Michael Harrison for their success. Take a bow Mike.
This is without doubt the biggest, best and bonkers panto you’ll see all year – it simply dwarfs the opposition.
Here’s to the next 10 years.
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Sunday, January 18, 2015. Tickets are available from £12 (a booking fee of 95p - £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk