Co-Writers: Alan McHugh & Matt Slack
Director: Michael Harrison
Not only is this year’s Hippodrome panto celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Theatre, but it also marks Michael Harrison’s 10th year directing and producing. In this year’s Snow White Harrison creates what must be one of the most dazzling pantos across the land.
Ian Westbrook and 3D creations craft a beautiful winter wonderland that is full of small details like an adorable owl perching on the front of the Dwarf’s cottage. However, it’s Ben Cracknell’s elegant, sharp and magnificent lighting design that is cleverly built into the set which sparkles and wows, from the front curtain to the final bows.
Never one to shy from risk Harrison uses Alan McHugh’s script that has a twist in store so that even the most experienced panto viewer won’t know what’s coming. While it doesn’t tamper with the plot too much, it’s just enough to catch a gasp from audiences and keeps even the adults gripped.
Hippodrome favourite Matt Slack brings a huge sense of fun and comedy to the evening. He has an ability to engage with both adults and kids alike and pushes the bar just enough so that adults will enjoy certain moments, while it will fly right over the heads over younger visitors. Slack’s love for the Hippodrome also shines through as he sings a number to celebrate the history of the stage that he is performing on. It makes this production feel homely and local and the perfect commemoration for the 120th year.
The cast is just as stellar as the set and lighting. Joe McElderry’s stunning voice shines through, his lead in a rendition of Dance With My Father is a truly beautiful moment. Faye Brookes also has a delightful voice and is adorably sweet as Snow White, while Lesley Joseph is more than capable to pull off the conniving Queen Dragonella.
If all of this talent wasn’t enough, Jac Yarrow stars in his first panto after his Joseph debut last year, Flawless brings the house down with some fantastic choreography and local favourites Doreen Tipton stars in her first Birmingham panto. Andrew Ryan returns with his charming and no harm done panto dame Nanny Annie Asprin and lets not forget the awesome ensemble who can’t be faulted for their energy and top class talent while finally the Drawfs get some of the loudest cheers of the night.
The Twins FX also create two truly brilliant special effects. The Dragon is truly terrifying and even in mid January, you can’t help but awe at the sight of Santa’s sleigh cascading above the heads of those in the stalls.
This year’s Birmingham Hippodrome panto is a feast of variety, hilarious humour and a scrumptious set which is complete with stellar special effects and a super talented cast. It’s the perfect panto to commemorate 120 years and makes you wonder how they will top it.
* Decision based on a discounted ticket price of £21.59 (Full price £43) + 6% Transaction Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating