Review – Snow White, The London Palladium

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Snow White? Not a proper panto is it really? Well not in our dusty old panto inventory.

But then this is the Palladium panto, now in its third year since being reinvented for this venue, and it is (of course) bigger than ever, and has expanded its repertory company of Julian ClaryGary WilmotNigel HaversPaul ZerdinCharlie Stemp with the USP of Dawn French in her first ever panto and for those interested in such things dance duo Vincent & Flavia. Plus – quite rightly – seven people of restricted euphemism.

So not exactly a cheap line up then. The official site is selling tickets at up to £169.50. But even bearing that in mind, just how do the economics of it work? Some of the spectacular set pieces are whisked on and off in barely a few minutes. You’ll be left wondering how many seats they need to sell to pay for just one of Clary’s many costumes. And if you’ve been before and thought his outfits outrageous wait till you see these. Ironically Clary picked on Andrew to mock his sartorial choices, much to Phil’s delight.

But it’s not just his outfits that are outrageous (Clary’s not Andrews…but then again). His Man in the Mirror is funnier and filthier than ever. Is there a gay sex gag left unplundered? It was hardly surprising that Phil struggled to find any children in the audience (Mmm, that sounds wrong doesn’t it ?). There probably hasn’t been a panto this adult since the days of Jim Davidson. 

Dawn French as the wicked Queen Dragonella makes more than her mark in a show that has clearly been built around Clary. Yes, it’s Dawn French, but it’s not a given that she’d suit the genre. Jo Brand never found her panto feet when we saw her at Wimbledon back in the day.

Wilmot as Mrs Nora Crumble is one of the most likeable dames around. Last year he performed a how-the-hell-did-he-learn-it? patter song featuring the names of every London underground station. Apparently he was invited to perform it at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday party last month. You wonder how many of those guests even knew what a tube station is. They may have better luck with his offering this year which may possibly even top last year’s. Extraordinary.

Havers as Nigel the understudy is mocked mercilessly yet does a stunt many would never attempt. Vincent and Flavia hold up the the plot (such as it is) with a couple of dances. And hurrah (SPOILER ALERT) Snow White (Danielle Hope) is still allowed to be woken from her deathly slumber by the Prince’s (Stemp) kiss. Michael Harrison’s production is packaged in the gaudiest of packages (sets by Ian Westbrook) with a chorus line of dancing polar bears, acrobatics, impossible tongue-twisters, song sheets, sheer gut-busting innuendo and the genius of Zerdin’s ventriloquism. 

And we haven’t even mentioned a sequence with kitchen pots and spoons…

If you fancy a bit of fiddling while the country burns you’d struggle to do better than this.





3 Responses to “Review – Snow White, The London Palladium”

  1. Billy Says:

    What a charming account – in the spirit of the holiday season, it would be even more delightful for admiring readers to have more precise details of the critiques mentioned here:

    “Ironically Clary picked on Andrew to mock his sartorial choices, much to Phil’s delight.”

  2. Graham Says:

    Tremendous as always (both the panto and the review), but we thought doing an erotic tango around your dead daughter was a bit strange, even if they were ghosts.

  3. […] Pan and Snow White are not proper pantomimes according to that doyenne of panto dames Clive Rowe in Time Out. […]

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