Snow White is an apt choice of show for a town in the grip of Mother Nature’s icy fingers.
The lingering remains of a mid-week snowfall adds a touch of atmosphere to Bolsover Drama Group’s annual panto.
But the big question in this little town is how do you find seven people to squeeze into the boots of the dwarfs? The answer’s in the script, delivered by a rather tall Ian Simpson in the guise of Grumbly who urges the audience to use its imagination because the dwarfs have grown up!
The magnificent seven are played by adults of varying heights and include Paul Holland as Prof, Peter Maddinson as Cheeky, Tara Madeley as Snoozy, Dawn Blackburn as Sniffly, Donna Knowles as Blusher and Chrissy Smith as Loopy. Along with the aforementioned Grumbly, the dwarfs bring distinctive character traits to a panto which is as sparkling as the diamonds they mine.
Elsewhere, there’s an impressive ultraviolet scene with cartwheeling skeletons and giant spiders caught in a web, the magical transformation of the wicked queen into an old lady with a poisoned apple and the smallest, cutest ghosts you’ll ever see in panto.
It’s a toss-up as to who takes the monarch of mirth title with two performers vying for the honours.
Chris Peck playing Muddles the Jester has some genuinely funny jokes and his send-up of pop star Prince brings the house down.
Ray Hall ramps up the comedy factor as shuffling Herman the henchman who takes the first stab at getting the audience to shout: “He’s behind you” as he creeps up on Snow White.
Hannah Bradford radiates warmth as Snow White, teaming up with Lisa Brunt (playing Prince Lorenzo) in the duet How Long Will I Love You?
Louise Sutton works her magic to give Fairy Goodheart a sparkling personality.
The Wicked Queen is the target of plenty of boos in a commanding performance by Wendy Blunt whose singing is among the panto’s jewels.
An inspired choice of musical numbers sees the chorus, which features a large number of children, covering hits by One Direction, Bruno Mars and Tina Turner, accompanied by musical director Nigel Turner on keyboards and percussionist Pat Sabin.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is directed by Leanne Collins, who is also the choreographer, Ray Hall and Mick Whitehouse. It runs at The Bolsover School until Saturday, January 24.