Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Watersmeet, Rickmansworth

The importance of warming up a panto audience is highlighted by Rickmansworth’s latest rendition of Snow White, where the first act played out to a crowd seemingly unable to give anything back to the onstage cast.

Exuberant efforts to engage the audience at the top of the second act may have been a reaction to their previous quietness, but whatever the reason they result in a much warmer atmosphere that allows the accomplished cast to really show their capabilities.

Sarah Accomando and Grant Neal, as Snow White and her charming Prince, are two engaging leads with warm vocals. Kim Hartman’s Wicked Queen excels at the sneering demeanour demanded of her, if less comfortable with being given a Lady Gaga song to perform. The lion’s share of the credit for reviving the audience mood must go to Michael Otton’s Muddles, whose magic and escapology routines provide several of the show highlights.

With an audience as receptive in the first half as it is in the second, this would be an enthralling show from the off. It would also mean a warmer reception for the superb circus skills of Angelina Treva Riley, whose enchanting aerial work played in an undeserved near silence.