Christmas would not be the same without a good pantomime, theatres up and down the country rely on the revenue Panto brings in to keep them afloat for the rest of the year.

Being a good introduction for youngsters to access the theatre, for many a visit to the Panto is their first experience of a live show.

Currently running at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has all the glamour, glitz and fun you would expect from a family pantomime.

Comedian Joe Pasquale excelled as the halfwit Muddles - from arriving on stage on a motorised toilet until the finale he held the audience in the palm of his hand. For many youngsters it could have been your favourite uncle up there on stage.

Pasquale’s years of experience in Panto and on stage shone through, his squeaky voice might get on your nerves after a while though thankfully he did not sing the song title of the same name.

Faye Tozer from the pop group Steps has grown into her role as Queen Lucretia - having played the role before in other pantomimes she now owns the part. Whilst trying to be mean and bad, cracks appeared in her character to reveal at times her vulnerability.

David Robbins as Mrs Nelly Nightnurse wore some of the most outrageous wigs and costumes- all designed by himself. Let’s just say that his dresses were so over the top and colourful that the chances of seeing them in your local Primark are very slim!

His jokes like many of the others throughout the Panto might be old hat and a bit ropey - his and Pasqusle’s jokes about bottoms and flatuence started to wear a bit thin after a while, though the youngsters next to me were in fits of hysterics whenever the “fart” word was mentioned.

Jamal Kane Crawford was smooth and suave as the charming Prince William of West Bridgford who built up a chemistry between himself and Lucy Ireland as Snow White who played her role with a certain innocence.

Natalie Brown seemed rather under utilised as The Spirit of Pantomime though when she did appear on stage she lit up the auditorium with her magnetism.

Not forgetting The Magnificent Seven - yes, Seven real life dwarfs who were a delight.

The plot got lost slightly along the way, modifying the classic storyline so that the Prince takes a bite from the old granny’s apple instead of Snow White seemed rather confusing and appeared to be more aimed at the Woke movement rather than satisfying a pantomime audience.

Instead of relying on the latest pop songs more traditional numbers such as Whistle While You Work worked well though the inclusion of the Lizzo hit, About Damn Time amended to It’s Panto Time was another nod to current trends.

Watch out too for the special effects which include a huge talking mirror along with a flying car that rises over those seated in the stalls.

The slapstick humour of the cleaning song towards the end proved that something as simple and silly was all that was needed to get some of the best laughs of the evening. Sometimes less can be more.

Naturally with Tozer being a member of Steps the night ended with the cast performing a short 3 song medley of the groups hits. Whilst far from being a tragedy the smiles worn by everyone leaving the theatre said more than words ever could.

It might have been Panto by numbers but it still managed to take everyone away from all the bad news around at the moment - at least for two glorious hours.

Runs until Sunday 8th January 2023.

Picture credit: Whitefoot Photography