Darlington Hippodrome – until 14 January 2018
The “Fairest Panto in all the Land” has arrived at the newly and beautifully refurbished Hippodrome in Darlington. And there are many, many references to the name and decor change in this show.
Local lass, Zoe Birkett stole the show as Queen Sadista, the wicked Aunt of Snow White. She belted out a fabulous panto-adapted version of Queen of the Night whilst flying into the audience astride a magnificent flying dragon that ended up the first act.
Australia’s Got Talent star, Natasha Hoeberigs plays Snow White . I hope she’s prepared for winter in the North East of England after Christmas in Australia. Her singing voice is beautiful and controlled, and it is a shame she doesn’t get more singing to do in this production. Comic relief comes in the form of Teesside comedian Patrick Monahan, who along with Muddles, Liam Mellor, has some of the funniest lines in the show and between them manages to rip Prince Lee (Lee Ryan) to shreds. Lots of jokes about renaming Blue to Beige now they’ve got older and how it was a pity Duncan James and Anthony Costa weren’t available. Glamour comes in the form of Dame Nora Crumble (Eric Potts – who also Directed the show) with some stunning and surreal costumes. The “Magnicent Seven” were normal sized actors shuffling on their knees which can’t be comfortable and may explain why their appearances were few and far between.
With a fine ensemble of dancers and the Joanne Banks Dancers for the cute kids this is full of all the the traditional panto staples but also with some fabulous effects. I especially liked the Magic Mirror where previous panto stars appeared to point out how lovely the new Hippodrome was and how Queen Sadista wasn’t – great cameo’s from The Krankies, The Chuckle Brothers and Brendan Sheerin
As one would expect from Qdos, the production values are very high, so it is glamorous and glitzy, but this has not got in the way of the genuine panto feel, a little fairy dust is sprinkled and everything is transformed into a happy, sparkly world guaranteed to leave you with a huge grin on your face.