It is a panto like no other. But the Charles Court Opera Company’s annual foray into pantomime has always been very much into a world of their own with at it’s heart arguable the best pantomime dame around – the multi talented beanpole that is John Savournin, singer serious but dame delirious. The big surprise in this very funny and very well sung tale is not that he plays the wicked queen – a role that would have fitted him like a glove – but that he is Snow White, housekeeper to the alleged seven dwarfs. As they are all played by his regular sidekick Matthew Kellet we only ever see them one at a time so it is anybody’s guess how many there really are. The wicked Queen has a mirror which is even more wicked than she is and gives her all sorts of evil advice which she tries to take, especially when she finds out that the prince in search of a bride has decided Snow White is the girl for him. There is a nice gimmick – things stop from time to time and the audience is asked to choose what happens next. As with all improv acts it is, of course, a con. They carry on regardless.
Messrs Savbournin and Kellet are a polished double act, the wicked Queen – Jennie Jacob – has a cackle that would shatter a champagne glass – and Emily Cairns as Prince Pretzel strides manfully through the mayhem. Snow White is a reluctant bride because she is in love with Barry White, who, she discovers has gone to the great panto in the sky, whereupon Pretzel stands a chance. As for his side kick, Larry Black played by Meriel Cunningha,, he gets turned into a frog – there is a truly terrible joke about he is so upset at this the others fear he might “kermit suicide”.As for the Charles CourtOpera regulars – they are heard but not seen.
Lock down has clearly set the creative juices flowing and this latest boutique offering is well up to all that have gone before, or possibly more than.
Snow White:John Savournin.
The Seven Dwarfs: Matthew Kellett.
Prince Larry of Pretzel: Emily Cairns.
Larry his valet: Meriel Cunningham.
The voice of Barry: Marcus Fraser.
The voice of the men in the mirror: Mark Gatiss & Ian Hallard.
Andrea Tweedale, Amy J Payne, Nichola Jolley, Matthew Kellett, Simon Masterton-Smith.
Director; John Savournin.
Musical director: David Eaton.
Percussion: Dave Jennings.
Costume Designer: Holly Pigott.
Lighting Designer: Ben Pickersgill.
Set Design:George Johnson-Leigh.