New - exclusive review of this year's panto at Harrogate Theatre

Action from last night's dress rehearsal of Snow White at Harrogate Theatre.Action from last night's dress rehearsal of Snow White at Harrogate Theatre.
Action from last night's dress rehearsal of Snow White at Harrogate Theatre. | other
Review: Snow White, Harrogate Theatre.

There's only one verdict people in Harrogate wait for at this time of year.

How good is this year's panto at Harrogate Theatre?

If the evidence of the dress rehearsal of Snow White I was lucky enough to attend last night among an audience of the volunteers who do so much to support the theatre throughout the year is anything to go by, the judgement is unanimous - it's a hit.

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This wonderfully family-friendly production of Snow White begins, appropriately, with the voice of Harrogate panto legend Tim Stedman.

It's the audience favourite's 20th year in a row of appearing as the comedy interest and he remains as hilarious as ever.

In fact, this year's sparkling show is something of a Tim Stedman master class.

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Particularly funny is the lengthy scene where he and the magical fairy (plot spoiler alert, the handyman disguised as a Scotsman played by Pamela Dwyer) pay homage to the era of silent comedy in a lengthy piece of slapstick worthy of Laurel and Hardy.

Scripted as always by the theatre's dynamic duo of David Bown and Phil Lowe, the production is intelligent without being clever clever, silly without being vulgar, imaginative and entertaining from start to finish.

Rather than plot complications, this year's show focuses on providing non-stop entertainment at every turn - and succeeds in spades.

Boasting superb sets awash in glitter created by Harrogate Theatre's own scenic services department, it's no wonder the Harrogate panto won a national award last year.

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The cast is superb from top to bottom, from Zelina Rebeiro charming in the title role of Snow White to the deliciously nasty and naughty Polly Smith as the Evil Queen.

Full of in-jokes about the Stray and cycling events, this wonderful show even finds space to give a brief but promiment role to the Harrogate Advertiser.

There's song, dance, positive vibes and an ingenious way in these PC times of presenting the seven dwarves without risking offence.

Put simply, Snow White is the funniest in a recent run of very funny Harrogate pantos.

What more could you want?

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It would be wrong to focus on the performances of Snow White's two main regular comedy actors, Tim Stedman the clown and Howard Chadwick the extravagantly costumed Dame but it's Tim's 20th year and Howard is always brilliant, too, and, well, they deserve it.

Oh yes they do!

Snow White opens at Harrogate Theatre on Wednesday, November 27 and runs to January 19, 2020.