AS a beginning, you couldn’t win your young audience over in any finer way than with a triple whammy of When I Grow Up from Matilda the musical, some Gangnam style dancing and a game of Dick and Dom’s Bogies.

The latter two are presented by Noel Brodie’s Muddles, a silly jester and prankster who was definitely a big hit with the children in the very first performance of this year’s Gazette-sponsored Basingstoke pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

He’s a friend to Sarah Louise Day’s perfect Snow White, but winningly confesses his affection for Snow to the audience and raps a warning about Lucy Benjamin’s Wicked Queen including the line, “It says that she is beautiful but really she is a minger”.

Director Ian Good, who also plays brusque Nurse Dotty Dettoll (a traditional panto Nurse complete with double entendres and a beyond fabulous wardrobe of costumes and wigs) has layered contemporary culture onto the classic Disney iconography in expected panto style. Thus, this show has Snow White’s dress, the well and the original songs – I’m Wishing, Someday My Prince Will Come etc – plus a ton of references to The X Factor, Tulisa, Made in Chelsea (“totes amazeballs”), Mastermind and so on. 

With limited props, save for the dwarfs’ residence, the actors do all of the work, singing, dancing and cracking jokes on stage for practically all of the duration. They present extended sequences during which, for example, the Queen bewitches Muddles, a supposedly magic hat is traded and, oh yes there is a scene where Dotty, Muddles and the Prince are chased by ghosts.

The young local performers from North Hampshire Academy of Dance and Basingstoke Academy of Dancing make a substantial contribution too. Not only do they deliver numbers as themselves but they also perform as diggers in the mine and adorable woodland creatures in a very sweet scene. Well done to all.

Dotty delivers the jokes for older folks - there’s a very cheeky undercurrent to some of the jesting – and all of the principles give great vocal performances, especially Luke Roberts as the Prince. The numbers come, refreshingly, from more sources than just the pop charts, and they include Ollie Murs’ Dance With Me Tonight, One Direction’s Live While We’re Young and Life’s A Happy Song from The Muppets. 

Lucy, who secures boos aplenty as she sashays around the stage delivering withering insults, mistakenly addressing Muddles variously as Piddles and Cuddles, has some great later moments when she performs I Am A Good Girl from Burlesque and then concocts her deadly potion, creating the poisoned apple in a steaming cauldron. One of the ingredients the former EastEnders star drops in is “Posh’s face” – a skull.

The drama of the moment where Snow White is about to take the fatal bite never diminishes and such is its power that one little girl near me was even reduced to tears. She, and the rest of the children, were, consequently, all more than delighted by the required happy ending.

*Tickets are available from the box office on 01256 844244 or online at