I cannot even remember last time I saw a pantomime but I wasn't looking particularly looking forward to being faced with over dramatic acting, ridiculously cheesy scripts and jokes well past their sell by date.
By the end of the show I was on my feet with the rest of the audience, I'm not sure what panto memories I was drawing on but clearly they had all been wrong.
In true style Gok Wan flew onto stage in his panto debut as the magic mirror in a costume so glitzy that he could probably see his own reflection in it. As expected he was a complete natural and had the audience in fits of laughter. His take on the sister act song, Fabulous was well... fabulous! You can catch Gok Wan on channel 4 Monday 30th December at 19:05 for Gok does Panto
The handsome prince John, played by John Partridge was indeed everything you would expect in your panto prince! Dashingly handsome - not afraid to show some muscle and able to belt out some show stopping tunes such as One Direction's 'Live While We're Young' and Bruno Mars' 'Runaway Baby'. Leading lady Danielle Hope played the sweet-natured Snow White. She remained calm and collected despite the chaos that inevitably comes along with pantomime. Her voice is as breathtaking as ever demonstrated through her taken on 'The Voice Within' by Christina Aguilera.
Screen and stage star Stephanie Beacham played the evil queen Sadista. Her evilness was only matched by her glamour making her perfect for the the fairest villain in all the land.
Gary Wilmot got all 'dressed' up for his role as Nora Crumble, the cook at the palace. He proved that even though there isn't normally a dame in Snow White, no pantomime is complete without one.
Matt Slack and Paul Zerdin - along with his puppet pal, Sam - played brothers Oddjob and Muddles and were the stars of the show (for me at least). Although I couldn't quite bring myself to join in, they were absolutely fantastic in getting the audience involved and providing the physical comedy that pantomime is so well known for. I didn't imagine I would find this so funny but I found myself putting my hand over my mouth to stifle the sheer volume of my laughter. Both were quick on their feet and their wit made the audience very forgiving of some clear technical issues and several moments of corpsing. One of the highlights was when Oddjob and Muddles join Nora and the Man in the mirror to dream about what they would do if they weren't working for the queen. The choreography was sensational and the song - completely hysterical.
The seven dwarfs, much like Snow White, didn't seem very central for a show called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but despite being 'short' for stage time they delivered a big performance. The chorus was highly energetic and emerged in a variety of overblown glittery costumes.
As expected from any pantomime the set was full of whizzes and bangs and plenty of special effects. The dragon seemed to be a favourite of the younger audiences.
Not being from Birmingham I had only heard via word of mouth just how spectacular pantomime at the Birmingham Hippodrome is every year. Take it from someone who was apprehensive at first. Go buy your ticket now!
Don't forget the relaxed performance on Thursday 30th January. Read More...