Charles Court Opera’s annual “boutique” pantomime has become legendary in North London. Having eight sold out years under their belt, they have returned this year with another fantastic show: Mirror Mirror: A Snow White Pantomime. Having previously performed at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, this year the company have moved to the King’s Head Theatre, after becoming an associate company for the venue.
As the title suggests, the show is loosely based on the fairy-tale of Snow White. Struggling after the death of her husband Barry White, Snow is struggling to look after the seven dwarves: Crabby, gleeful, half-baked etc. (all played by Matthew Kellett). Meanwhile, Prince Larry (Amy J Payne) and his valet Harry (Nichola Jolley) are in search of a woman to be Larry’s wife. The wicked queen (Andrea Tweedale) believes she is Larry’s rightful suitor and so plots revenge when Larry instead decides he would like to marry Snow White.
The show is said to be ‘a pantomime for adults’. Including all the wonderful parts of a classic pantomime: the continuous puns, gender-swapped characters, audience participation, sing-alongs and a happy ending, mean that the opposite is achieved; audience members go back to feeling like kids again. With non-stop laughter and a sing-along to the Spice Girls classic ‘Wannabe’ (with revised lyrics) to close the show, there almost feels a sense of community between audience members and cast by the end of the evening. The intimacy of the venue means that there is only a small stage area, but William Fricker makes full use of the space with his intricate set design.
The original script is written by John Savournin who also plays the dame. It has to be said: Savournin is a comic genius. The script is jam packed full of jokes, rhymes and cultural references, it’s hard not to become completely hooked whilst watching. Stealing the show completely, Savournin’s choice to cast himself as the lead is perfect because only he could perform his own work that well. I found myself grinning any time he was on stage.
The hilarity is only increased when mid-scene the characters burst into song. The original lyrics and arrangements by David Eaton to classics such as ‘I Want to Break Free’, ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ are so clever and highlight how talented the cast are vocally as well as comedically. When all of the characters are in the woods and sing a mash up of songs including ‘One day more’, ‘Time to say goodbye’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, it totally brings the house down.
A night of hilarity and fun, if you only see one panto this season make sure it’s this one.
Mirror Mirror: A Snow White Pantomime is playing the King’s Head Theatre until 9 Jan. For more information and tickets, see the King’s Head Theatre website. Photo by Bill Knight.