Pros: This funny and clever pantomime is ideal for adults and children alike.
Cons: There just wasn’t enough of the giant lobster.
Of course I should have never been concerned. This is, after all, Theatre503. When they say pantomime, they mean the comedy trio, Sleeping Trees’ production of the not-so-well-known classic, Scrooge And The Seven Dwarves. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Interestingly, the title is deceiving as it is not just an amalgamation of A Christmas Carol and Snow White & The Seven Dwarves but a mash up of several fairy tales.
Just to give you an idea of the story, here is a brief synopsis (deep breath now) . . . the Wicked Witch steals all the Christmas spirit Santa has collected, meaning he can’t deliver his presents and his only hope is to extract the last remaining spirit in the world, which is contained deep in Scrooge’s heart. To get this last piece of spirit Santa’s mother transports Scrooge to Fairytale Land, where he meets Snow White, who is looking for her seven dwarves and they all head along the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of Aus (yes Aus, not Oz) . . .
Breathe . . . And continue . . .
Perhaps it is impossible to convey the complexity of the storyline – trust me, that isn’t even the half of it. There is more, so much more, including an elusive giant lobster . . .
What makes Scrooge And The Seven Dwarves so good is the craftsmanship of the team behind it. They create a play that sits perfectly between the traditional children’s Christmas panto and a more adult version. There is incredible skill in producing something that on the surface is childish and seemingly too simplistic for a venue such as Theatre503, but then turning that into a piece of theatre that appeals to the very audience that would normally be here to witness something more modern. Whereas adult pantomimes rely on innuendo and raucous adult participation, the Sleeping Trees’ production is much more subtle. They rely on clever writing and stagemanship to draw out the laughs; at one point two of the actors manage to play all seven dwarves at once. It is amazing that they can keep up with who is who and who is standing where.
Scrooge And The Seven Dwarves contains enough for both adults and children to enjoy, and never insults the intelligence of either section of audience. Even at tonight’s performance, with just a handful of children, the audience was quickly drawn into the true essence of pantomime, joining in with the classic chants of “behind you” and with some more obscure ones, such as, “we want the lobster”.
Having approached this production with concern, I left smiling and eager to know what the Sleeping Trees have planned for next year, when I will most certainly be back for more of their superb work.
Authors: John Woodburn, James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith
Director: Simon Evans
Producer: Alice Carter
Musician/Composer: Ben Hales
Box Office: 020 7978 7040
Booking Link: https://theatre503.com/whats-on/scrooge-and-the-seven-dwarves/
Booking Until: 7 January 2017