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BrumHour saw Snow White at the invite of Wolverhampton Grand.
By Eleanor Lawson twitter.com/Elle_Lawson
Panto Review: Snow White at Wolverhampton Grand
⭐⭐⭐⭐”Slick and glitzy with a brilliant script”
Directed by David Janson, written by Ian Adams and Tam Ryan
Wolverhampton Grand has a long, proud history of pantomime, spanning the theatre’s entire 129 years of existence. However, this year marks an exciting first for the theatre as it showcases its first home-grown pantomime, made exclusively for Wolverhampton by the incredibly talented team at the Grand. It’s evident almost immediately that this is a show made in Wolverhampton, demonstrating the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the good old Black Country, making the audience feel right at home.
Our story takes place in the kingdom of Wulfruna as the evil Queen Dragonella rules over the kingdom from Dudley Castle, where she has locked her step-daughter Snow White in a tower. Although all pantomimes throw in local references to get the audience laughing, it’s incredibly refreshing to actually see Wolverhampton and the Black Country as the setting for the story, particularly when these areas are so rarely seen in TV programmes and films. As an audience member, you feel more important. I’d go so far as to say you feel more valued by the theatre.
Kingswinford’s own Evie Pickerill is the titular heroine, Snow White, who radiates warmth and charm without being too saccharine a character – a very difficult feat in pantomime. She has a beautiful voice which holds up next to Kelle Bryan and Niki Colwell Evans, who both made their names through singing, and is a joy to watch on stage. Niki Colwell Evans, another local star, is an absolute scene-stealer and is absolutely delicious as the evil Dragonella. She’s a powerhouse of a performer and in her first scene, as she makes her way down the stage while singing Diamonds are Forever, I physically shivered from the strength of her voice. She’s catty and childish and glamorous – no wonder everybody wants to be a villain.
Kelle Bryan is also very endearing as Elementa, the magical character and surrogate narrator for the tale, and is another cast member with an incredibly strong voice. Gyasi Sheppy is adorable as the well-meaning but slightly naïve Prince William of Wombourne and has great chemistry with CBeebies castmate, Evie Pickerill.
And in terms of comedy, Wolverhampton Grand is blessed with its duo of returning pantomime performers: Tam Ryan and Ian Adams. Award-winning Tam Ryan, as Muddles, is an expert at the good-hearted, but often ridiculed son of the Dame, played by Ian Adams. Other characters will make you laugh but these two will make you howl until your sides ache.
The production is slick and glitzy, helped by beautiful backgrounds, a skating rink with direction from Robin Cousins MBE, and an impressive video mirror called Mirri – an AI take on the enchanted mirror which provides ample opportunity for comedy. However, it’s the brilliant script, anchored in the love of Wolverhampton and the Black Country, and the impeccable performers which really make this pantomime shine.
Snow White is at Wolverhampton Grand until 7th January 2024. Book tickets here: grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/snow-white.