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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is playing at the Beck Theatre, Hayes this Christmas. I wasn’t sure where Hayes was to be honest but as my dear friend Tim McArthur was playing Nurse Nellie, the panto dame, I trekked there to check it out.

Bird of a Feather and Loose Woman Linda Robson was the star attraction as the Wicked Queen who tries to keep Snow White hidden away on her 18th birthday so she won’t run off and get married. But when the mirror mirror on the wall reveals that Snow White is the fairest of them all and no longer her, she doesn’t take too kindly and demands that she be taken out into the woods and killed. Snow White takes refuge with Seven Dwarfs (more children than dwarfs in this production but that’s budget cuts for you) and eventually finds her way back, defeats the Wicked Queen and of course lived happily ever after.

Linda Robson is lovely (I got the chance to meet her after the show which was a dream come true and I managed to bite my tongue and not call her Sharon) however as a stage performer she isn’t the best. Her rendition of Pinks ‘Get The Party Started’ was interesting and made me pleased that Birds of a Feather was never a musical.

Lauren Stroud was a great Snow White. Gentle and kind with a powerful set of lungs that really delivered the songs well. The man in the mirror Simon wegrzyn deserves a pay rise for having to risk his life in a prop that flies him in and out of the stage at such speed I feared he might fall out several times. His character was a little annoying as the overtly American game show host type but he held the show together well and got the crowd going.

Now I know people will say I can’t fairly review Tim McArthur’s performance as we are friends and so I will put that disclaimer in now so you can’t come back and tell me I have no integrity for doing so, however, I thought he was brilliant! His comedy delivery is great and is totally suited to playing the dame.

Panto is what panto is. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and after a couple of glasses of wine you are more than happy to scream ‘he’s behind you’ and get unwillingly soaked with a water pistol (even in the back row so beware). Family fun and very festive. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it but I am glad it only comes once a year.

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