Snow White and the Seven Poofs
Leicester Square Theatre
A sell-out last year, this high camp “adult” panto won’t be for all tastes, but if you are a regular at the Black Cap or the Vauxhall Tavern this should be right up your (Compton) street.
Despite some frocks that look straight out of Disney, it is definitely not for children. Nor for prudes, though if by chance, through some misunderstanding, anyone has booked who might be offended by the language or the vulgarity of the humour they are invited to fu… given the opportunity to leave. If any innocent decides to stay they get an explanation of gay terminology from Shamiso Mushambi, the only genuine diminutive among the seven occupants of the cottage (yes that one too) where Snow White finds refuge.
There isn’t a transformation scene, but from its chatty welcome to the audience to its final curtain call with costumes all-a-glitter it is recognisably a pantomime. Not least in cross-gender casting, though this seems to be all one way with a not quite entirely (take that how you will) all-male cast.
It’s the Wicked Queen (in every sense since it's Titti La Camp, aka Richard Byrne) who “gets the party started,” grabbing a microphone to sing it, and a party is what this sets out to be. The Sunday matin&eaccute;e audience I saw it with needed absolutely no encouragement to be interactive and produced some of the show’s best laughs. This is a team of players skilled at handling hecklers and building on interjections whether it’s a mobile phone going off, someone leaving for the loo or a pointed personal remark.
Cheekily honest Mirror-Mirror-on-the-Wall (come on, you know the story) is personified by quick-witted Kyle Stewart, brimming with personality. He wants the boys and girls to answer back his greeting with a difference and shout out not a welcome but F… off Mirror! You had better do it too, or he will pick on you! A great performance and you see plenty of him, but he has got plenty of competition, not just from La Camp but from foul-mouthed writer/co-director Goss as the Queen’s henchwoman Horrible Hilda (he alternates shows with Mrs Moore, aka John Moore). Innocent Snow White, subjected to indecencies unmentionable, is a lithe lass, the epitome of femininity as played by Tanya Hyde (aka co-director Anthony Poore, winner of 2008 Drag Idol competition) and Liam Ross-Mills is her saviour as Prince Donkey Dick though not being at the front the sight lines in this crowded studio did not allow me to see quite why he got the name, but he certainly got the laugh.
It may be drag but there ain’t no miming. These guys know how to belt out a number whether the seven frequenters of the cottage delivering “YMCA” (in appropriate character) or a send up of Susan Boyle. I thought some of the songs a little over extended, but I was probably alone in that for they went down like a bomb.
It's a show that knows its audience and how to please them. If that’s you, you’ll know it too.
“Snow White and the Seven Poofs” runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until 28th January 2012.
Reviewer: Howard Loxton