REVIEW: The Snow Queen, Midhurst Players

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The tradition of pantomime is a long and uniquely British one.

Whatever the story certain elements and conventions are absolutely essential in any successful production. Foremost amongst these traditions is the presence of the Dame, a larger than life character, dressed outrageously and played by a man; some of the most famous dames in the past have been Dan Leno, Cyril Fletcher, Arthur Askey, Dick Emery, and more recently Christopher Biggins and Sir Ian McKellen.

The Midhurst Players were incredibly fortunate to cast ex professional actor Tim Ashworth in the role of Granny Fanny Annie, whose performance is up there with the very best, his energy, sense of style, timing and ability to engage the audience was sheer delight. He/she captured the spirit of pantomime with zest and humour and contributed much to the success of this ambitious production.

Other unique elements in the pantomime tradition are lavish costumes with lots of costume changes, children, dancing, songs, jokes and audience participation. The Snow Queen directed and choreographed by Lena Hill, had all of these elements in abundance. The children in the dancing and singing sequences and young actors in many of the roles were full of confidence and when the production spilled out into the auditorium the audience were overjoyed.

The music, lighting and sets were all very impressive, huge credit to all concerned to give Midhurst such a wonderful Christmas treat. There was so much work done both on and off the stage to help ensure this ambitious project was such an outstanding success

The magic of pantomime is that it entertains all ages, and the audience reflected this wonderfully, all ages were present and equally absorbed and responsive, the applause and laughter rang through the South Downs Memorial Hall throughout the evening. A big ‘thank you’ to all concerned for bringing such Festive joy to Midhurst.

Susan Ford

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