Panto hits new heights

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Those with tickets for the matinée and evening performances today of the 5As Panto are lucky twice over: lucky to have tickets — there's a very long waiting list — and lucky that they'll be so richly entertained.

Record audiences have enjoyed Snow White & the ? Dwarfs, written by Colin Cliffe, and full of the touches that make his scripts so special. Right from the off, bodily functions and related humour are to the fore — hardly surprising with a dwarf called Gassy!

Naturally, we had political correctness of a sort throughout, Oh Yes we did! 'Disclaimer' walk ons ensured nobody was in any doubt about the deadness or otherwise of birds, Snow White and much else besides.

Every dwarf played his character to perfection — each even seemed to grow in stature as the evening progressed. Sleazy had some wonderful lines — the girl of his dreams didn't even need a pulse — while Bashful's obsession with nakedness was played with consummate style for one so painfully shy.

Theatricality was evident throughout with the Magic Mirror used to great comic effect as the cast grew or shrank with immaculate timing. The Mirror herself had some fine lines as she reassured the wicked Queen that she really was the fairest of them all.

Harry, and who we wonder played him, was given the task of killing our heroine and extracted every ounce of humour out his lines. Will the delivery of "Yes, that's right" ever again attract so many laughs.

Music is always a strength of a 5As production and the younger members of the cast featured strongly in many of the numbers before all forty eight performers belted out their finale to enthusiastic applause.

It wasn't just Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Stars of other popular shows enjoyed cameo appearances. We had Robin Hood, a number from Oliver and Pooh Bear — but don't ask what he was up to in the woods. Tarzan was a special treat, or rather Tizer, apparently Tarzan's Pop. It was that kind of night!

The costumes deserve special praise. They were truly spectacular — it must have been hectic behind stage with so many changes — while the scenery and technical effects reached new heights. As one of the team remarked afterwards: "Everyone has upped a gear this year."

The reward is four shows sold out and Wednesday's first night also seeing record numbers. Best of all, the audience, like the Company, is of all ages, with so many there to cheer on their mates as they tread the boards.

So, ticket holders for this afternoon and tonight rejoice — you are in for a real treat. This is another 5As triumph. You'll simply love every minute.

More photos to follow.