A motorbike that rides high above the audience, an X Factor finalist and a tongue twister that you cannot forget can only mean one thing… the pantomime has arrived back at the Darlington Hippodrome.
The best pantomimes are the ones that achieve the perfect balance of comedy, special effects and a good story which the Darlo panto abounds in. There is a twist in this particular tale of Snow White, though to find out what it is you will have to see the show yourself.
Former X Factor finalist and recent winner of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Win, Gareth Gates was charming as Prince Gareth whilst Jenny Ryan from the hit television show, The Chase provided the near perfect villain as Queen Dragonella. With a little more menace and wickedness about her it might have made her character slightly more believable.
Tap dancer, juggler, joker and all-round entertainer Josh Benson was rightly cast as Muddles. Benson added his own additional material to the panto, which explained why he seemed so at ease on stage. Whenever he appeared on the stage the whole auditorium lit up.
Marina Lawrence-Mahrra as Snow White provided an innocent and refreshing touch to the proceedings though Jamie Jones as Mrs Nelly Nightnurse seemed to be underutilised in the show – his role as the pantomime Dame could have been used in a lot more scenes – especially with those over the top costumes.
The seven dwarves who appear under the banner of the Magnificent Seven are cleverly disguised and of course, are always there to come to Snow White’s rescue.
Gareth Gates gets an opportunity to perform his Number One version of Unchained Melody and puts in a good rendition of Dua Lipa’s Dance The Night.
It would not be a panto without any audience participation from the younger members of the audience. The penultimate scene where Josh Benson invited four young adults up on stage to perform a tongue twister was hilarious – though whether one particular cheeky youngster is a decoy is one I was suspicious about having seen the same routine at the Bradford Pantomime earlier this month.
With glittering costumes, amazing special effects and a good storyline that never got lost in the Panto, Darlington has a show to be proud of…oh yes it does!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Darlington Hippodrome runs until Sunday 31 December