The Scouse Snow White
Writer: Kevin Fearon
Cast: Andrew Schofield, Lindzi Germain, Samantha Arends, Jamie Clarke, Michael Fletcher, Stephen Fletcher, Hayley Sheen & Keddy Sutton
Review Date: November 25 2019
Performances: November 22 2019-January 18 2020, 8pm incl. 2pm matinees
Location: Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 140 Minutes incl. an interval
Age Rating: 16+
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” So goes the famous Christmas song, one of the many tunes (both established hits and original tracks) performed in this Royal Court Theatre show, which continues the tradition of providing a distinctly Scouse edge to a famous pantomime story, with a fair few mature references that create a retelling like no other, but which results in there being plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. The story here is of The Scouse Snow White.
The always-hilarious Andrew Schofield is assigned two roles here: one as the Narrator, and one as the guard to the wicked Queen, played by Lindzi Germain. Her quest is to be the fairest of them all, but standing (or rather skipping) in her way is Snow White (Hayley Sheen), who obliviously walks through the Wirral town excited about the upcoming winter festivities. Rumours about the Queen’s evil plans and whispers about the Vampire Christmas Killer (Stephen Fletcher) place her in a state of worry and danger, though she has her jolly friend to protect for: a local Huntsman, played by Michael Fletcher, who is secretly and madly in love with Snow White.
The Vampire Christmas Killer is assigned a simple task: destroy anything and everything pertaining to the festive season. He’s already previously bumped off several Xmas characters, and now it’s Snow White’s turn. The Queen is ready to go wild, not least because Mayor Joe (played by Keddy Sutton) has used up all of the town’s money, preventing her from using the same cash to doll herself up. To assist the Killer with his evil deed, the Queen strikes the Huntsman with an evil spell, one which sees him, when a particular (slightly rude) word is uttered, set his sights on Snow White herself!
Fortunately, Snow White is able to notice the sudden shift in the Huntsman’s mentality and realises that it is linked with the Queen and also with the Vampire Christmas Killer. In order to be safe, though, she goes to visit her Nan, one of seven Dwarves whose names use local slang such as Snotty, Knackered and Fumin’. It is there that the plot begins to take a sharp turn, though, as the Huntsman finds himself at the mercy of the evil empire, and so it falls to Snow White, who he was originally trying to protect, to now come to the aid of her secret admirer and thus bring an end to the Queen’s tirade.
In some ways, a show like this writes itself because the original story alone presents scope for humorous scenes, and with the Royal Court regulars that form the cast, this would have been an enjoyable evening even if they were asked to simply ad-lib. This is where the writing of Kevin Fearon becomes important, though, because the already-amusing premise is elevated to another level with clever in-jokes about the pantomime universe in general, plenty of references to North West life (the evil apple becomes a “manky” fruit, or rather “Manc-ey”), as well as throwing in surprises that are well hidden and result in some of the night’s biggest laughs.
Those who saw last year’s Scouse Cinderella performance will know what to expect, but it doesn’t make the scenes in this year’s production any less comical. Andrew Schofield merely has to pull a slight smirk to get the audience laughing, never mind his casual quips and intentionally-daft dancing, and Lindzi Germain (partly assisted by her magic mirror) comes out with a lot of tremendously-funny lines, ranging from observations on her nemesis the Huntsman to condescending comments about her own army of villains.
Elsewhere, Keddy Sutton takes some very humorous pops at Joe Anderson in her parody of the city’s Mayor, with one scene in particular getting howls from the crowd. Elsewhere, Hayley Sheen is believable and likeable as Snow White, Stephen Fletcher has some underrated moments as the Vampire Christmas Killer, and not only does Michael Fletcher not take himself too seriously as the Huntsman, but he shows off some outstanding singing as well, especially during a more emotional scene. I have to also mention the superb settings, the comical usage of puppets throughout, and the festive themes that got everybody in the Christmas spirit.
It’s perhaps a shade below last year’s offering, but only because the previous production had more of a fresh feel. Judged on its own merits, and even when judged alongside other Xmas productions, the Scouse Snow White is a festive treat and a must-see show over the winter season. Just don’t bring the kids along, otherwise your Christmas may never be the same again!
Target Audience: Adults Aged 35+
Content: 4/5 – Frequent Strong Language, Moderate Sex References
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent
The Scouse Snow White runs at the Royal Court Theatre until Saturday January 18 2020. To buy tickets, click here or call 0151 709 4321.