PANTO REVIEW: The Snow Queen Rock 'N' Roll Panto ★★★★★
The Snow Queen Rock ‘N’ Roll Panto
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
Thursday 17th - Thursday 24th December 2020
From Red Riding Hood to Alladin, over the past few years, The New Wolsey Theatre have vamped up the traditional pantomime to a standard that clearly thrives with their rock ‘n’ roll blend of showstopping tunes accompanied with a wicked storyline to suit all ages, and whilst 2020 brings a more tight-knitted team on stage to keep the show alive, you could almost mistake them for a team of 20, as the energy and humour, from them and the socially distanced audience, is palpable through the screen in this live streamed production, which will be available On Demand until Saturday 2nd January 2021.
As the theatre went live this christmas season to homes around the country, one aspect that complimented this new normal was when an actual segment of the show invited us as an audience at home to log in online to our social media accounts during the interval and vote on a name for the magical hammer that would come in very handy during the climax of the piece. The most amazing thing about this daft idea was the freedom for us to interact whilst still being at home, as just as silly was the idea, so was the name, as DAVE was chosen amongst other contenders such as Hammerlet, Ice Breaker, and Hammery Mc Hammerface to help our heroes defeat the evil snow queen.
As a rarity of Rock N Roll Pantos go, something that felt all too familiar to any festive show was the dame. For The Snow Queen, Steve Simmonds was in the role of Dame Sigrid Smorgasbord, who was a genuinely funny and delightful performer who had myself and what sounded like the whole audience howling at his smutty jokes, with a certain Scotch Egg pun being a real highlight! Along with the rest of the cast, which included Lucy Wells as Girda, Adam Langstaff as Kay, Natasha Lewis as Primrose / Fairy / Snow Queen, and James Haggie as Simon.
The whole cast threw themselves into tracks which would you have bobbing, singing, and rocking out to, constantly leaving you smiling till the very end, as they furthermore brought musical talent, playing Bass, Keys, Guitar, Sax, and Drums, to bring some classic tunes to life, such as The Proclaimers I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Jennifer Lopez’ Let’s Get Loud, Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, and U2’s Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, all handled and directed under the watchful eye of Ben Goddard as Musical Director, and Peter Rowe as the Writer and Director of this year’s production. Peter Hazelwood must also be mentioned for producing some magical work to keep the festivity alive through Video Design, that accompanied some of the tracks from the show, and even some of the more spooky and tense moments that involved the Snow Queen herself, in this unique, trailblazing production held in the highest degree from The New Wolsey Theatre - a spectacular triumph for all the family!