Snow White and the Seven Dames

Perth Theatre

Mary Brennan

four stars

‘Mirror, mirror, yes or no – are there really seven Dames in this panto?’ But the Mirror was pre-occupied with reassuring Queen B’s that she was the fairest, so it suggested we pay attention and count them...Well, yes – there are seven sisters, and appearances show they are clearly all related. But since they’re never lined up side by side, it could be that it’s actually Barrie Hunter and Ewan Somers taking us for a mischievously tricksy, bravura quick-change ride!

Mighty respect to this duo of accomplished pranksters for the way they switch characters – Hunter, who also directs, accounting for three, Somers for four – with sustained attention to distinctive details of voice and facial expression. Beezer, unstinting inventive comedy – whey-hey!

Sassy (Hunter) and Cissy (Somers) are, like their sisters, miners.Big bahooky’d, baggie-breeked, these Tilly-the-Toiler lookalikes are fracking underground for the elixir of youth that QueenB (Helen Logan) demands by the barrel-load. Logan – playing her first ever panto baddie – is deliciously, archly, evil in elegant black while Snow White (Emma Mullen, in pigtails and white jim jams) is the gullible innocent she keeps cloistered and timid.

Now, writer Frances Poet has kept, more or less, to the familiar lines of the story, but the gears start to shift once Snow White gets lost in the woods. There is an increasingly soft-hearted young Huntsman (Kyle Gardiner) and a frightfully posh Prince in search of a wife (Michael Dylan) but Snow White’s happy ending doesn’t depend on either of them: it’s us, the audience and our promise of friendship, who revive her into new-found, gung ho self-reliance. Snogs and marriage, end of story? Not in this ‘modern era’ panto! Tradition does prevail nonetheless with the singalong cloot, a jolly tribute to the wee Moles – the Yellow Team on Saturday night – who bring loveably furry fun to a fast-paced show where the Dames are an irresistible ‘two-fer’ bargain!