Review: Snow White at Buxton Opera House is a perfect panto

Panto magic hits its peak in a perfect festive treat for all the family.

Monday, 12th December 2016, 9:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:48 pm

Performers scale the heights of entertainment to produce the best show possible at Buxton Opera House.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs lives up to its name, with a remote winter wonderland providing the location for the pint-sized diamond miners’ cottage.

The fairy is reinvented as Flora, Spirit of the Peaks, dressed in woolly hat, shorts and white hiking boots with a sparkly backpack from which she retrieves an ordnance survey map. She waves a walking pole instead of a wand and name-checks Higger Tor and Kinder. Flora the explorer is offbeat, lovable and a credit to Zoe Littleton who plays the character.

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On snowy slopes, puppets ski down mountain passes before the dame does her best impression of Julie Andrews. This is followed by a male trio disguised as nuns singing How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and a medley of songs from The Sound of Music.

An abominable snowman replaces the traditional ghost yet the dame still has the fearsome creature running scared when they come face to face.

The kids howled with laughter on Saturday afternoon when James Holmes as Dame Brenda Bakewell and Matthew Jay-Ryan playing Muddles did a a great take-off of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Both brought a whole new meaning to the cake-makers’ phrase ‘soggy bottoms’.

Their 12 Days of Christmas song - in which the gleesome twosome were joined by partner in time Christopher Laishley as the Wicked Queen’s snotty henchman Snivel - also went down a storm. Toilet rolls were hurled from the stage and water pistols turned on the audience, much to the delight of those in the firing line.

Insults shot from the lips of the Wicked Queen Belladonna, played by Anna Stolli, referring to Snow White as Slush Grey and eliciting a great reaction from young viewers during the poisoned apple scene.

Lucy Dixon fits the bill as pretty Snow White, with an engaging performance which not only captures the heart of the audience but also that of handsome Prince Tristan, played by golden-voiced Brad Veitch. Their voices are well matched in the Ed Sheeran duet Thinking Out Loud.

The sign of a good panto is when grandparents look as though they are enjoying it as much as the children. Some were jigging in the aisles as the final bars of Step Into Christmas rang out in the auditorium at the end of a dazzling performance.

Catch this top panto at Buxton Opera House until January 1.