Danny Adams as The Court Jester and Clive Webb as Oddjob are in their 16th year at The Theatre Royal and still have as much energy as ever, with their return from the enforced break they certainly relish every minute being back on stage. As father and son, they are a fantastic duo with a mix of comedy, magic and superb entertainment. Danny and Clive are joined by X Factor Star, Joe McElderry as The Man in the Mirror. This gives us the start of some twists in the traditional story. The repartee between Danny and Joe, which is mainly aimed at Joe, is thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and shows what a great sport he is as well as an amazing singer. The Carole Stennett as Spirit of Pantomime is a delight. Mick Potts as The Idiot, I always want more of him, he plays the character brilliantly.
It always feels that no expense has been spared here and this year it even managed it to up a gear, including with Danny ending the first act travelling back, from taking Snow White into the Forbidden Forest, driving a double decker bus which lifts out into the auditorium. Followed by Queen Dragonella as she flies off with her dragon to cause more problems for Snow White.
Two Dames give us double the treats with Chris Wayward, this year, becoming the evil counterpart, as Queen Dragonella and Steve Arnott as Mrs Nelly Nightnurse. Having two of the top Dames in the country is such a delight.
Wayne Smith as Prince William of Wallsend who falls in love with Snow White as Kirsty Ingram and the Magnificent Seven as Josh Bennett, Simeon Dyer, Scott English, Jamie John, Blake Lisle, Andrew Martin and Fergus Rattigan who can’t be forgotten about, they may not be the main part of the show but they perfectly enhance the evening.
This may not only be the best panto in the North East, but is probably the best in the country. Plenty for adults and children alike. If you only have time to see one show this Christmas, this has to be it.
By Andrew Harrison – Arts critic