Christmas audiences will love many elements of this panto written and directed by father and son team Keith and Ben Simmons.
The pair themselves, as Muddles and Herman, are the five star turns in the outstanding scenes, notably a “flying” sequence which sees Keith hovering suspended from the ceiling.It’s old school slapstick from the top drawer. Their spontaneity and ability to adlib both to each other and to the audience is to be cherished.
Their quickness somewhat shows up two modern devices which add very little. The video screen appearances of Jo Brand lack punch and slows the action, whilst the pre-recording of adult voices for the seven dwarves - played by miming small children with large masks - simply makes them less appealing.
In contrast every moment of Greg Ashton as a very Welsh Dame Gladys is a delight. He uses his height and girth to splendid effect. Aided by a succession of suitably gaudy costumes and with comic campness he is a Dame par excellence.
Janine Pardo as the evil Queen Grizelda is poshly menacing, whilst Tristan Ward as Prince Patrick of Poulton-le-Fylde sings handsomely and powerfully. Millie Hansford from Thornton-Cleveleys, in the title role in this her second Lowther panto, carries several numbers tunefully, but needs to avoid squeaking and rushing her spoken lines on occasions.
The script is pleasingly full of topical and local references - Blackpool FC, AKS, Bargain Hunt, the Dalmeny Hotel, Celebrity Bake-off and even Cliff Richard, and musical director Simon Goldring has chosen well, particularly with Shotgun, This is Me and the Baby Shark Dance. The Pantomime Ensemble and Blackpool’s Langley Dance School provide impressive well-drilled routines and a slightly uneven show sends everyone home full of seasonal cheer. Runs until December 30.