Hilarious panto casts a spell on opening night

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Opening night jitters, forgotten lines and the occasional duff joke weren’t enough to take the shine off an hilarious few hours at Blackpool’s historic Grand Theatre.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs saw Hi-de-Hi! star Su Pollard take centre stage as the Wicked Queen, Dancing On Ice star Daniel Whiston play the prince and gorgeous Millie Booth take on the title role of Snow White.

Production pictures from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Blackpool's Grand Theatre.

Production pictures from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Blackpool's Grand Theatre.

But it was the relentlessly talented fans’ favourite Steve Royle, complemented perfectly by panto veteran Jamie Steen that pulled the production together.

Royle’s character, Muddles, called so because he gets his mords wuddled, had little to do with the actual plot line but was still heavily involved as warm up and warm down, compere, impromptu prompter, and stand-up comedian. When Su Pollard forgot her lines, he was literally standing in the wings to remind her, and when he couldn’t get his rollerblades off after one particularly rib-tickling scene with Whiston, his natural humour made it work.

Alongside Steen’s Nurse Dolly, who dressed in an array of crazy outfits - including McDonalds burgers, a stick of rock, and an actual garden - the audience would have been content to watch three hours of just him.

Indeed, when he wasn’t on stage, the drop in energy was noticeable.

Whiston’s performance was flamboyant to the point of exaggeration, Pollard’s jokes were occasionally poorly timed and fell flat, while Booth’s portrayal of Snow White lacked any real substance.

The seven dwarfs were good, with Steve Haze standing head and shoulders above his peers, including original Oompa Loompa Albert Wilkinson, but didn’t have enough stage time.

The sets were stunning as usual, while writer Andrew Ryan’s adaptation of the popular fairytale was contemporary and funny, complete with the subtle adult jokes that kept the mums and dads entertained.

And the music was a mix of the original Disney classics and modern pop hits, although the audio mixing did sound off at points.

This was definitely no Shakespeare production, but then again it wasn’t trying to be. However, it was a light-hearted, funny, warm-feeling-triggering jolly that deserves to be part of your family’s Christmas.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs plays until Sunday, January 3.