Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the best panto of them all? It’s got to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. The annual Aylesbury panto has been a tradition for me to take my kids for a few years now and a highlight of our festive calendar. We were invited along for the special Gala Night and excited to see Snow White and the Seven Dwards for the first time.
Traditional panto at it’s absolute best and with the unique twists that only Aylesbury Waterside Theatre can deliver, we had a fantastic night out. Packed with engaging characters, lots of laughs, a creative set, popular hit songs and fantastic costumes, this is THE panto to go see. Add in the crazy fun of the 12 Days of Christmas (keeping reading and I’ll reveal more) and you have a festive family experience that ticks all the boxes.
The annual Aylesbury pantomime is not just another theatre show but one that they put so much passion into each year. Directed by award-winning Chris Nelson, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic tale with an ideal storyline for a classic panto with everything from a handsome prince to an evil queen.
Music, lighting, sets, costumes and choreography usually get glossed over or missed out in reviews with the actors taking centre stage. They absolutely excel at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre panto and never more so than this year.
Smash hit chart toppers mix with musical theatre and there is of course a little heigh-ho, heigh-ho in there. The set works perfectly for the story, I loved the dwarfs house and the finale set up, the atmospheric smoke that billows from the stage and jets of fire.
The costumes really should have their own review, it’s not just Dame Dilly Donut with an amazing array of variety (still laughing at the octopus dress) but right through the cast and ensemble. I’m imaging the mayhem behind the scences with lots of outfit changes but you’d never know as they pull it off all so well.
The dance routines impress too with a strong ensemble of dancers and ensemble children from Allstars Academy and Castielli School of Dance.
Before I launch into the amazing characters, I have to start with Andy Collins. “Local Lad” and BBC 3 Counties radio presenter is back for his 12th year playing Muggles. He always makes a great entrance and we were laughing as he came wheeled in playing a bright orange piano. Much loved with a very loyal fan base (including my kids), he had the audience clapping and engaged from the start and set the tone for an upbeat, lively panto with chart toppers peppered through the show.
Leon Craig who plays Dame Dilly Donut had big shoes to fill, stepping in to fill the place of La Voix and he rocked it. Backed with ooddles of panto experience, Aylebury’s panto dame naturally held the stage, had us laughing and can belt out a tune too!
Headliner, James Bye who you’ll recognise from Eastenders and Strictly Come Dancing masters the dashing Prince Charming. A perfect blend of of charm, cheesiness and comedy.
Every great panto needs a baddie who you love to boo at and Lyndsey Gardiner as Queen Grimelda owns the stage with her strong vocals and wicked ways.
The hard working, kind and beautiful Snow White is brought to life by Rhiannon Chesterman. She exudes Disney princess with a voice to match. She connects with the audience and my youngest was shouting so loud at her not to eat the poison apple. As with all good fairytales, it has a happy ending. You should have heard the whoop when the prince lays a big smoochy kiss to wake her up.
Oh my goodness, the dwarfs were a hit and my boys were so excited when they appeared on stage. Each with their own personality that shone through, they really did make us laugh, especially Wiffy!
The atmosphere in the audience was fantastic and you could really feel this build as seasoned Aylesbury Waterside Theatre goers knew what was coming with the 12 Days of Christmas. Included every year, this is a little different to what you’ll get at a regular panto.
Organised chaos with everyone belting out the tune (my kids know it well now), toilet rolls flying around the audience and a bra made to fit 3 and it’s just hilarious. The comedy version of this song has you singing, laughing and ducking for cover. If you’ve not been, I won’t spoil it as it’s so much fun, just be ready and pack a water pistol!
If you’re looking for a great night out, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to Aylesbury you should go. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs until Wednesday 3rd January 2024, a must see for your festive season calendar.
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