Production: “Snow White and the Seven dwarfs”
Venue: Brent Town Hall
Report by Vic Golding
It becomes increasingly difficult to write reviews of pantomimes of such high standards of presentation as those annually given by The Chameleons without sounding repetitive. Suffice to say the Rob Spolander & Radnor Everett’s retelling of the Snow White story put in several original touches, which made it more interesting than the normal run of panto stories.
Director and Choreographer of their Millennium Pantomime, Tom Rainbow, did a splendid job of keeping discipline and a good pace amongst his mostly young cast, while Janette Edwards did an equally distinctive job with the Musical Direction. I was most impressed with the harmonies achieved by the youngsters, and with Carol King’s Orchestration.
Steve Gough, as usual, kept a tight reign as Stage Manager, and his crew worked swiftly, unobtrusively and efficiently. Andrew Bird & John Jetton did an excellent job with the Lighting and spectacular Pyrotechnics, and the Sound Control, engineered by Richard Blann, was very effective.
Props. (Sarah Edwards & Debbie Day) were also very good, and the huge hammer by Peter Denchfield and Deborah Seeley was very amusing. Costumes, both hired (Harlequin) and made (by Amanda Hutchinson & Deborah Seeley), were colourful and quaint, while Linda Rawley & Jill Elliot’s handling of the Make-up for the cast was excellent. Stage Productions’ familiar scenery did stalwart duty for this panto as for so many others. The Programme was well laid-out and eminently readable.
Narrating is always rather a thankless task, but Arlette Kamellard carried it out well, providing a cosy link between audience and performers. Incidentally, it was only when reading her cast profile that I realised ‘Darles Chickens’ was a dreadful spoonerism! Donna Ottaway this year again made a charming Princess, with some nice harmony singing with her ‘Prince’, though a black wig would have made her look more like the ‘traditional’ Snow White. (Then Lady Vermillion could have had red hair to suit her name!)
Les Elliot was an amiable, hen-pecked King Bumble, while Robert Spolander & David Murphy (as Lady Vermillion’s reluctant Henchmen, Smash and Grab) were the life and soul of the show, aided by Stuart Everett, gorgeously bedecked, as a hilarious Dame Potts. Jason Kosky, as ‘her’ sidekick, Mr Pans, made ‘her’, a good physical contrast. Amanda Hutchinson, as the villainess, Lady Vermillion, seemed to enjoy herself immensely in this outrageously O.T.T. role. Victoria Humphris, playing the imprisoned Prince in the Mirror, gave a lively thigh-slapping performance, and sang well.
In very brief cameo roles, Craig Marshall, Ginge Anderson, Linda Rawley, Wayne Gilliard and Jeremy Spolander made their mark, and young Roisin Laverty & Lee Midgely (as Hansel and Gretal) were a lesson to all with their clear enunciation.
The Dwarfs, led by Libby Walton as Cracker, did well, and combined cleverly as a team, though each one had their own ‘cheesey’ characteristics, but it was not always possible to hear what they were saying. Especially when heads turned away from the audience, and ‘beards’ muffled the sound!
All the chorus were bright and lively in song and movement, despite the usual one out of step!
Thank you for inviting us to a highly entertaining show, and for your warm and generous hospitality.
Good luck for the rest of the Millennium!