I get a sense of déjà vu when watching panto at the Cresset. You know exactly what you’re getting with that venue – but don’t get me wrong, the familiarity is definitely a good thing!
I’m a creature of habit – particularly at Christmas time. I like a dash of gingerbread in my coffee, pigs-in-blankets at the side of… well, any meal, and I like a familiar feel to my panto.
There needs to be a Dame, cheesy one-liners, audience participation, songs that get your feet tapping and (preferably) a well-known TV Celeb. All of which feature in The Cresset’s Snow White.
This family favourite sees the title character (played by Victoria Jane, who had her Cresset debut as Wendy in last year’s Peter Pan) joined by seven very special friends as they try to defeat the wickedest of wicked queens and reunite our heroine with her dashing Prince (Mitch Hewer, star of TV’s Skins and Casualty).
The all-star line-up gets even more impressive with the legend, Kevin Kennedy (yes, Coronation Street’s Curly Watts) playing Muddles. It was great seeing such an iconic character from my childhood just metres in front of me. As an actor, he’s as colourful as ever and owns the stage.
Also, the extremely popular Zach Vanderfelt plays the outrageous Dame, Madam Bonbon, who had the audience in hysterics throughout.
Of course, what is a panto without the involvement of young locals? Performing alongside the main cast is a team of talented children, selected from over a hundred hopefuls at open auditions earlier this year.
The show is once again in safe hands with Writer and Director Stuart Morrison involved – as he has been for many years (including the best-selling production of Peter Pan in 2016). Stuart knows exactly what the audience wants and gives it to us, alongside a few surprises here and there.
A panto is only as good as its villain. Britt Lenting as Queen Sovania was the perfect casting. With some of her scenes, I could sense some influence from my favourite musical, We Will Rock You. In fact, with such great choreography with some of the dance numbers, the audience could easily have been sat in a West End Theatre. Yes, there are moments that good.
Overall, Snow White is an absolute triumph. Everything and more we expect from a pantomime.
It’s running until December 30 so see it whilst you can. Tickets are priced from just £8.50 with fantastic group offers available. You can book through the box office on 01733 265705 or online at www.cresset.co.uk
Photos: Chris Brudenell