Milton Keynes Theatre
7pm, 10 December 2013
Another hugely enjoyable panto at Milton Keynes from First Family Entertainment with sparkling, slick performances, lavish sets and laughs galore.
Snow White is quite hard to do because it lacks the obvious and tradional characters, but this production gets round that well, adding its own spin to the tale.
The show doesn’t have a comedy dame character and thankfully this production doesn’t try to squeeze one in. They also didn’t make the all too often mistake of putting the Wicked Queen in drag because dames are usually funny. Instead, Jennifer Ellison played faded glamour with evil elegance – and an excellent singing voice.
There is also no obvious main comedy character in the story so a Buttons-esque type character is written in, in the form of Herbert, a courtier.
In this role, Kev Orkian is just brilliant. With absolutely accurate comic timing, a singer and dancer, his energy is such that whatever scene he is in your eyes are drawn to what he is doing – he’s not upstaging, just highly entertaining.
Holding the whole production together, he held the audience in the palm of his hand. Why is this man not a household name?
Of course the dwarfs also provide lots of comic relief and this well drilled team were expertly led by Warwick Davis, who also directed the entire slick production.
I liked the running joke that all the dwarfs were rehearsing acts for Moravia’s Got Talent with spoofs of Subo and Attraction. It also provided a rousing finale to the show which I won’t spoil.
Kate Stewart and Shaun Dalton were also excellent as Snow White and the Prince. It’s hard to play straight parts with so much going on around you but some beautiful musical performances meant they held their own.
They are all supported by an outstanding ensemble who play their part in rousing group numbers.
Panto visits get more expensive every year but you could do a lot worse than shell out for a big one like this because in my opinion you get your money’s worth.
My only criticism is that it’s a little on the loud side but maybe I am just getting middle-aged!
Run time: About 2 hours 20 minutes including 20 minute interval
Other stuff: A full selection of sparkly stuff is available in the foyer from about £3/£4. My favourite this year – crazy hair!