HUDDERSFIELD LIGHT OPERA COMPANY
TITLE: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
BY: Andy Hirst
FOR anyone who likes a good old traditional panto then Huddersfield Light Opera will make sure you get it.
And you certainly get it – as they say in pantoland – several times a show.
For anyone who has seen this company before the familiar faces are there in the usual roles. Chris Brearley relishes playing the dame and does so again with more costume changes than a Gok Wan fashion show and you’d be advised to wear sunglasses to watch. He puts the word vivid in the shade.
Neil Broadbent has a natural born sense of comic timing and funny face which probably explains why he’s playing Chuckles here. He’ll draw you into his mirth-filled world that includes that old panto favourite buzzy bee, a few ‘he’s behind yous’ and some suitably terrible jokes that only he can carry off.
Try this one for size. How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas? Deep pan, crisp and even. You’ve been warned.
And that’s why this is out to be a true family affair with some double entendres and more risqué stuff flying over young heads.
What this panto also does is to showcase some of Huddersfield’s young talent with dancers, singers – and the seven little folk at the centre of it all.
The dwarfs are all played by young children and, although the delivery can be a little stilted, they work together well as a team. A couple were hesitant with their lines but they had six chums to whisper the key words to them and Ebony Arthur playing Smiley was outstanding. The dwarfs sure weren’t short on puns either.
Sharon Whitehead was spot on as the villain of the piece, Queen Avarice, with a strong delivery, Machiavellian body language and a suitably evil laugh while Gemma Clarkson gave Snow White a sense of natural elegance and innocence.
Helen Woodhead turns in the usual polished performance as Fairy Good Fortune – she’s probably the company’s strongest singer – while Holly Comber Moccia gave it ‘slap-me-thigh’ glamour as the prince.
Paul Bennett was oddly scary as Merlin of the Mirror while simple knockabout humour came from Granville Stead as Justice Quill and his untrustworthy sidekick Scribbles (Luke Flacks) who have trouble coming to terms with new technology such as laptop, Apple, Blackberry and X-Box.
There’s a couple of surreal moments – watch out for the singers taking their dogs for a walk. Just what was all that about? Yet at least they used a poop scoop.
Costumes are lavish and the scenery highly professional with a few pyrotechnics thrown in to liven things up even further. Songs verge from 70s disco such as I Will Survive and even Boogie Wonderland through rock ’n roll to ballads.
It’s a twist on the usual Snow White tale so it’s best to invest £1 on a programme so you know instantly who’s who and what’s going on.
In short (every pun intended), a good family show that entertains and, hopefully, inspires young theatregoers.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs runs all this week until Saturday with performances at 7.15pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 1.30pm and 5.30pm on Saturday.