It's December, which for us Brits means the perfect time of year for the obligatory pantomime. I was invited along to see Snow White last night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in the hope that it would give me some Christmas spirit to see me though my last few days at work.
When most of the other journalists bring their children, nieces and nephews and you bring your 30 year old husband- you do look a bit out of place while you're munching on the free hard boiled sweets but that wasn't about to dampen our spirits.
The story followed the classic tale we have all come to know and love. There was an evil queen, a beautiful maiden, a magic mirror, a handsome prince and seven dwarves; however, it also featured a rather camp character called Muddles and a very Irish Herman the Henchman. In true panto style- they have to be different. These aren't in the original story, of course, however the pair provided a lot of the comedy throughout the performance.
Jorgie Porter of Hollyoaks fame was very sweet, feminine and pretty as only Snow White should be. She captured the familiar movements and mannerisms of the princesses from the beloved Disney movies with confidence and consistency.
Liam Mellor or Muddles was great fun- and his effeminate and perky attitude certainly tickled the audience members.
He called us out a few times when we didn't join in with sufficient gusto which made everyone even more determined to make as much noise as possible.
Colin Connor or Herman the Henchman had great chemistry with Mellor and together they made for a hilarious double act. He was also quick to point out when the audience weren't pulling their weight and saying the appropriate lines which just added to the laughs.
Leanne Campbell from Radio City 96.7 was the standout performance for me. I had no idea she could sing like she did- belting out some big tunes like 'Sweet Dreams', 'Thriller' and 'I'm Feeling Good' none of which are easy. She delivered her lines in both her character and her own broad Liverpudlian accent, which had the audience rolling around the aisles and she certainly had the evil cackle perfected too.
Stephen Fletcher or Prince Brian of Birkenhead was suitably handsome and charming- both of which are essential for a prince who is going to sweep the princess off her feet. He was so breathtaking in fact that one of the Queen's staff fainted when he said 'hello'. Now that's impressive!
The aptly named Prof, Sniffley, Grumbly, Loopy, Blusher, Cheeky and Snoozy sang us the delightful 'High Ho' and 'Dig, Dig, Dig' so fans of the original weren't left disappointed.
We were spoiled with a very unique rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas by Prince Brian, Herman the Henchman and Muddles too, which was a delight to watch as they brought out props and ran around the stage trying to keep up with the music. They had a very special prop for the twelfth day- but you have to go and find out what it is.
The performance was filled with current music and unforgettable songs from other eras so there were tunes that were familiar for people of all ages.
Pantomimes for me, are like opening a load of Christmas crackers at once- the jokes are naff, but you laugh at them anyway. But mostly they bring people together, you have fun and you get to be a bit silly when you pop one. All the ingredients were there and judging by the kids' reactions- they all had a magnificent time- after all- they are the ones to impress. It was a privilege to be in a room filled with so much energy and excitement both for the show and for Christmas and it did fill me with the Christmas spirit I was hoping for.
Thanks to all the cast and crew for providing the perfect curtain raiser for the festive season.
Snow White is on at the Liverpool Empire Theatre until 31st December.