Writer: Kevin Fearon, Director: Chris Mellor
Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Until 18 January 2020; 2hr 30min
Liverpool’s Royal Court production of Scouse Snow White is a class act on how to stage panto for grown ups.
With a recommended lower age limit of 16, this production is a night out for parents without the kids. Writer Kevin Fearon has a successful track record of producing Scouse related productions for the Royal Court and judging by this latest offering, there are good reasons why.
The dialogue effectively tunes into the local vernacular, its humour and cultural and political reference points - and the audience gets it.
It’s very funny, too. Key characters from the classic fairytale are here; Hayley Sheen’s Snow White is a starry–eyed innocent abroad, while Lindzi Germain gives a stand-out performance as a wonderfully wicked Evil Queen and Keddy Sutton is the weak Mayor Joe who at one stage takes flight - literally. Characters from other pantos intrude; Aladdin’s Genie (Jamie Clarke) appears offering Mayor Joe three wishes to resolve his dilemma, save his daughter and satisfy the queen. And the Vampire Christmas Killer (Stephen Fletcher) is a wonderful creation straight out of Dracula.
Michael Fletcher’s trigger-happy Huntsman is a suitably lovesick suitor, in danger of falling prey to the queen’s wicked plans.
Puppetry is used to great effect through the character of Nana Dwarf (Samantha Arends ) and the ‘dwarfs’ - Muppet- like puppets. Just in case we’re not following the twists and turns of the plot, we have a narrator (Andrew Schofield) who adds comic relief as well as continuity.
It’s all good knockabout stuff, delivered with great style and energy. The rotating stage set is visually stunning and effective in moving the action forward and live music from the trio of Ben Gladwin, Mike Woodbine and Greg Joy completes an impressive production.