6th December 2023
So last night I got to see the Wyvern Theatre Snow White panto production for 2023. And Swindon, you’re in for a treat. The cast and the junior ensemble tell the tale of the princess poisoned by the bite of a Royal Gala with much aplomb. The whole thing is fab fun and as entertaining as it gets. *Most of the usual panto elements are present – there’s cheering and booing and hissing and the ‘he’s behind you’ ghost scene. Not to mention nerf guns – when DID they become a thing? Anyway – they’re clearly an integral part of the performance now. I managed to get nerfed in the circle! This site gives a great beginners guide to British pantomime traditions if you want to delve a bit deeper into all that.
* With the exception of the pantomime song routine ‘If I weren’t upon the stage/in pantomime a xxx I would be.’ I just love the careful choreography that goes into this routine. PLEEEEAAAASE can we have this back next year!
The issue of the seven dwarves was, I have to say, dealt with rather cleverly. But no spoilers as to how. Their names were changed somewhat because Disney have copyright on the names they used in their film.**
As per last year, we have David Ashley playing Nurse Nora , the pantomime dame. He is a great dame! And Paul Burling returns as Nurse Nora’s son, Muddles. They are a fab team to be fair – not least because of the height differential!
Precipitating all the booing and hissing is Divina De Campo as the wicked stepmother – aka Queen Morgiana – in some TERRIFIC outfits!
Nathan Connor as Prince Boris and Samantha Dorrance as Snow White, I’d not encountered before – I live a sheltered life!
Everyone was wonderful and a special mention for the ensemble who did a superb job.
I’ve booked to take my granddaughter just before Christmas and I’m def looking forward to it. And with luck she’ll get nerfed instead of me! 😉
So if you’ve not booked yet – what are you waiting for? It makes for a brilliant afternoon/evening. Oh yes it does!
The Origins of the Snow White story
It’s worth pointing out, as ever, that of course Disney didn’t invent this tale of a murderous and jealous stepmother. Like many of our popular pantomimes, this too came from the Brothers Grimm. Though it is in fact more complex than that. So if you’re nerdy enough I’ll direct you to this website for the full background. But suffice it to say that the dwarves in one of the early versions of the tale didn’t have names at all. **Thus when Disney made his animated film he copyrighted the names he gave them and with which we’re all familiar.
And of course the original versions were grisly! In Cinderella, if memory serves, the ugly sisters slice of their heels in order to get into the glass slipper. And in early versions of this particular tale:
‘Snow White and the prince get married, and the evil step-mother is invited to the wedding. Here’s my favorite part. When she sees Snow White, alive and marrying a prince, she is “so petrified with fright that she could not budge. Iron slippers had already been heated over a fire, and they were brought over to her with tongs. Finally, she had to put on the red-hot slippers and dance until she fell down dead.” ‘ Nice!
For more info on the cast list and on Imagine Cruising go here: