REVIEW: Snow White at Wolverhampton Grand

When the festive season comes around so, inevitably, does the Pantomime season. They go together like cheese and wine and tonight's performance of Snow White was equally as classy, high profile and delicious as that food combo.

Marking Wolverhampton Grand's first self-produced pantomime, Snow White brings together an immaculate cast, beautiful staging and an outstanding big band to change the face of pantomime in the Midlands.

So many pantomimes across the country are 'out of the box' shows. That's not inherently a criticism - many venues do that style of show incredibly well, but naturally it has its restrictions. Sometimes those style of pantomimes can become quite formulaic and, other than the characters and the storyline, each one can seem very similar.

What the team behind Snow White have managed to do is create a compelling piece that has all of the traits of the story that you know and love, but with an added Wolvo-twist that made it shine.

They've also tweaked the manual slightly when it comes to characterisations of our leads. Sometimes you can loose elements of the plot slightly in order to give the 'stars' a chance to shine. However Snow White doesn't scrimp on story in the same way, instead choosing to showcase the talents of the company - something the audience welcomed.

MI Workshops and Purcell Branding have done an outstanding job with a magical set and a next-level magic mirror. Team that with beautiful lighting design and immaculate scene changes and you have a production that really sweeps you away to a fantasy land for two hours. 

Snow White is also one of the first pantomime's I've ever seen with the band on stage with the cast. Perfectly absorbed into the set, the big band sound of the musicians was mesmerising and complemented many of the numbers, specifically 'Nolly's Number' in act two, which saw a full-scale tap routine, in the vein of 42nd Street, on stage. That collective sound has the ability to transport you back to the golden age of theatre and gave an amazing full sound that was inexplicably perfect for the style of show.

However, as is always the case, it was the performers on stage who stole the show.

Kelle Bryan took on the role of the 'good' fairy, Elementa and brought warmth and charm to the role. Whether you remember her as part of a 90s RnB sensation, or in her current role as a Loose Woman, Bryan was a perfect choice to guide the audience through the plot.

Evie Pickerill and Gyasi Sheppy were our Snow White and Prince William of Wombourne respectively. Having already developed a chemistry from their time working together in the CBeebies house, their off-stage friendship was clearly a very large cog in the pantomime machine. Pickerill's vocals were some of the strongest on stage and contributed to a funny, compelling performance. Gyasi was in Wolverhampton for his first stint on The Grand's stage, but the audience immediately fell in love with his striking, almost cheeky-chappy persona.

Tam Ryan and Ian Adams are fast becoming stalwarts of Wolverhampton panto - and were also the duo responsible for writing the show. In both capacities, they excelled. Their almost enforced duo, playing mother and son, works so perfectly - and they both seem to 'get' pantomime. They understand what the audience want...and then they deliver it, but without pushing the joke too far, which is a very hard mark to hit.

I also want to pay a very special tribute to the ensemble - who worked harder than anyone else on stage. From dancing to singing to some outstanding puppeteering, all eight of them should be commended for their versatility and ability; they were amazing.

However, for me the night belonged to our panto villain, Queen Dragonella herself, Niki Colwell Evans. I honestly don't think I've seen a better characterisation of a panto baddie than Niki's 'Queen Dragonella'. She's got the whole thing nailed - from the voice to the movement, to the stage presence, she delivered on each and then some.

Evans also has an effortless powerhouse of a voice, that put goosebumps on your goosebumps, with her rendition of 'I Put A Spell On You' being a stand-out performance in its own right.

All of that said, what really made this piece special, was circumstance. 

Everything, from the front of house team to the auditorium, to the cast and crew to the production itself just sits so beautifully in The Grand that this pantomime makes its own magic.

For me this is one of the stand out shows of the year - and one of the best pantomime's in the country. It would sit beautifully on the stage at The Palladium - but it won’t. Because it’s wholeheartedly ours.

Snow White runs at Wolverhampton Grand until 7th January 2024. For more information, or to get your tickets, visit

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