DISASTERS on stage can happen at almost any show – but few play it off as brilliantly as the cast of Snow White did on Friday night.
The pantomime at Manchester Opera House suffered a curtain falling, props flying into the audience and a few name slips ups on the opening night.
While normally that would make most audiences cringe – the crowd, including me, were left laughing so hard we cried as Craig Revel Horwood and the cast made it seem intended.
The Strictly Come Dancing judge leads a stellar cast as Queen Lucretia alongside Ben Nickless and Eric Potts as the flawless comedy duo Muddles and Dame Nora Crumble.
They’re joined by Zoe George and Joshua St Clair as the romantic leads Snow White and Prince Harry (of Hulme).
In a 12 Days of Christmas sketch Muddles goes tumbling into the curtain and brings it down – causing Nora to lose her hair at the same time.
The backstage crew scrambled off stage like deer in headlights while Craig took command and turned it into a joke – berating Muddles for being useless.
In the same song Craig flung his five toilet rolls into the audience before ordering Muddles to collect them.
The beauty of a pantomime is being able to cut close to the mark, with this spectacular bringing in jokes on Prince Andrew and Craig’s trademark barbs to leave the audience in stitches.
Although the gag about Debbie McGee having “sagging skin” might be a jibe to far.
Ben Nickless is incredible as the idiotic Muddles and his variety of impressions from Attenborough to Tom Walker are as spellbinding as they are funny.
It’s certainly not the story of Snow White that I remember – with the evil queen being her aunt rather than her step mother and a huge dragon (which flies out over the audience) failing to track down the heroine.
The pantomime is more up to date than Strictly as it features two same sex couples dancing together in one of the songs.
They’ve still got the cheery seven little dwarfs – who talk in a variety of Manchester accents – and the magic mirror.
Although the technology for the mirror looked fantastic after the interval it failed to work which took away from the final scene when the evil queen is trapped in it.
The production is tailored beautifully to Manchester but is funny even if you’re not from the city.
It’s a four from me Craig and that’s good as our max score it 5 – fix that magic mirror and you’ll be unbeatable.
Opera House, Manchester
Snow White runs until December 29 and includes a signed performance on December 17.
It stars Craig Revel Horwood, Ben Nickless, Eric Potts, Zoe George and Joshua St Clair.