SUPPORTIVE spectators came in from a cold, frosty evening to give Dronfield Light Opera Group’s panto a heart-warming launch.
Buoyed by a packed audience, cast members showed no signs of first-night nerves as they pushed the boat out for their maiden voyage of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Friday.
With a pantomime horse – which the kids loved – and Roger Hart’s operatic delivery of the Go Compare insurance ad – which the adults loved – this panto soon established itself as a family favourite.
Not-so-little dwarfs brought the house down as they tried to squeeze into small beds, the wicked queen generated laughs in a tango across the stage in shades of Strictly Come Dancing and the buck-toothed horse’s new shoes was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
In the title role, Andrea Ryder’s singing and acting were outstanding, giving many a professional performer a run for their money.
Playing her opposite number, Lindsay Ashmore cut a dash as the smartly-dressed, thigh-slapping Prince Rupert.
Commanding the boos and hisses in her role as Queen Malevolent, Janice O’Donovan gave a wicked performance complete with evil cackling.
David Pierce as Dame Do-It-All showed a passion for fashion in eye-catching costumes and struck up a homely rapport with the audience that only years of playing such a part can achieve.
In scenes with the dame, Rachel Cooper-Bassett, playing Handy Andy, revved up the crowd with an action song in which the audience sang their hearts out after the promise of free sweets.
Gavin Ward excelled in his role of dwarf Dozy, taking a few tumbles as he pretended to nod off to sleep, much to the delight of the kids.
Exquisite dance scenes, choreographed by producer Andrea Powell, gave children in the chorus a chance to shine.
An ultraviolet woodland scene, meercats and a mischevious monkey kept young spectators engrossed for much of the production but some started to flag towards the end of the lengthy show.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs continues its run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week at 7.15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. To check ticket availability, call (01246) 412400.