‘Snow White’ review

Theatre, Panto
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
 (© Paul Coltas)
© Paul Coltas Julian Clary as The Man in the Mirror
 (© Paul Coltas)
© Paul Coltas Gary Wilmot as Mrs Nora Crumble
 (© Paul Coltas)
© Paul Coltas Paul Zerdin as Muddles, with Sam 
 (© Paul Coltas)
© Paul Coltas
 (© Paul Coltas)
© Paul Coltas The Magnificent Seven

The Palladium's mega-budget panto is packed full of variety acts and serious smut

Here’s a relatively big take: the Palladium panto isn’t really a panto. At least, not in the usual, modern sense of a family-friendly, fun-filled fairytale. The show – the prize peach in pantomime production giant QDos’ portfolio, now in its third year, and again helmed by the company’s managing director Michael Harrison – is far more in thrall to the traditions of music hall and variety shows that the Palladium is famous for. Far more concerned with spectacle and a succession of silly acts than, y’know, plot and character and that.

So we get Dawn French as a dastardly supervillain. We get Charlie Stemp (off of ‘Half A Sixpence’) as a dashing prince. We get erstwhile ‘Strictly’ stalwarts Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace doing a couple of ballroom dances, a quartet of acrobats flipping all over the shop, and seven actual dwarves running around with pickaxes (which is fine, I think).

And as is now usual, we get Julian Clary spewing X-rated smut (‘D’you want some Terry’s Chocolate Orange?’ ‘I’d prefer Terry’s Chocolate Finger’ was a personal fave) in a series of increasingly outlandish costumes. Gary Wilmot is a fairly tame dame, Paul Zerdin does his ventriloquist bit, and Nigel Havers is just kind of… there. Oh, the story is ‘Snow White’ by the way, not that it really matters.

Sizeable star power then, but is it actually any good? Erm, it’s definitely spectacular – we’re talking several eye-poppingly glittery sets, a giant animatronic dragon, a flying Santa’s sleigh, liberal use of pyrotechnics, and a flying Nigel Havers. Christ knows how many millions were in QDos’ budget, but they’ve thrown at least half of it at Clary’s costumes – the giant shattered mirror, and the reindeer outfits are good, but the walking cottage garden is next-level.

Beyond that, though, it’s extremely hit and miss. Some of it is very funny indeed, but some of it definitely stinks of D-list celebrities phoning it in for a paycheck. It’s varied. But then this is panto as variety show, so it would be.

By: Fergus Morgan


Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening

This is true panto. It has everything you could wish for: enormous costumes (for Julian Clary), humour from many quarters, songs one of which had so many words it could have filled a dictionary, dancing and dancers, flying people, reindeer and Father Christmas, audience participation and sweet sets.Oh, and don't forget the massive monster which definitely scared the young child sitting three rows in front. (Daddy's lap was a safe refuge!) With a great cast and a good mix of bawdy and less bawdy lines, the scene is set for our wonderful British festive theatre. 


This my second year of the Palladium panto. Absolutely loved last year’s Dick Whittington and this year’s production didn’t disappoint. It’s definitely not a family one with a lot of very adult humour and smutty jokes. The costumes are spectacular. It’s just a fun, silly and enjoyable night out. We really enjoyed all the different acts. It is definitely more variety than storytelling but doesn’t lose anything for that. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good laugh and doesn’t mind the very adult humour.