Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to toon hall we go for Hawick’s brilliant panto

The Cast
The Cast

Hawick Panto Group is bringing the age-old tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs bang up to date in this week’s hilarious show at the town hall.

And going by the delight on the faces of the young ’uns from Drumlanrig Primary School there en masse on Tuesday evening, the production is a massive hit.

Muddles Ali Hill and Dame Victoria Sponge Lisa Scott

Muddles Ali Hill and Dame Victoria Sponge Lisa Scott

The group certainly chose their music well for the show.

As soon as the first strings of George Ezra’s Shotgun blared out of the speakers, the kids were up on their feet, singing and dancing along with the cast.

And what a cast!

Catherine Macfarlane’s Wicked Queen was the first on stage, slithering on with unbound malice.

Wicked Queen Catherine Macfarlane, The Mirror, Ros Mundell and Snow White Kim Jeffrey

Wicked Queen Catherine Macfarlane, The Mirror, Ros Mundell and Snow White Kim Jeffrey

It’s not been tested, but there’s a fair possibility that Catherine’s evil laugh can cut glass ... and it was an excellent tool to elicit the many boos and hisses she received as soon as she walked on stage.

Her polar opposite, the incredibly sweet Kim Jeffrey as Snow White, was word perfect and uttered every piece of dialogue with the same innocence.

Her interactions with the equally-eponymous dwarfs was a delight.

Hawick Panto Group is not afraid to buck a trend or two, and it remains rightly proud of its Teri heritage – two of their previous shows were The Teri that Never Was and Pailmerk and the Hawick Ball Factory – and this time, their nod towards the Grey Auld Toon is placed firmly on the panto’s hilarious comedy pairing.

Chorus Lia Gilligan, Neve Douglas, Jessica Graham, Nikki Brotherston'FR: John Lee Elder and Gordon McScotland

Chorus Lia Gilligan, Neve Douglas, Jessica Graham, Nikki Brotherston'FR: John Lee Elder and Gordon McScotland

You can’t have shows for children about the dark arts, extreme vanity, jealousy and attempted murder without slipping a few jokes in, and that’s where Lisa Scott and Ali Hill come in.

Lisa herself is bucking the trend given her gender, but it’s hard to see how the character of Dame Victoria Sponge could have been made better if it was played by a bloke in a dress.

Lisa and Ali, cast as the lovable Muddles, play their roles in somewhat exaggerated Teri, and it’s a blast.

And Ali manages to get on the kids’ side so quickly – thanks to his friendliness, energy and, of course, George Ezra – that when Snow White turns down his awkward advances, there’s a real fear that the wee yins would turn against her!

Snow White Kim Jeffrey, Prince Lancelot Shonagh Ferguson

Snow White Kim Jeffrey, Prince Lancelot Shonagh Ferguson

But, thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and Snow was able to go on and meet up with the dwarfs – a brilliant septet led by Kathy Webber’s Doc and brought up at the rear by the gifted body language of Charlie Marshall’s Dopey.

There’s plenty of updated musical numbers to keep all happy, such as This is Me from The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia from, well, Mamma Mia!

There’s also a nod to the original Disney version with an updated Heigh-Ho.

It’s a fairly small cast, with several of the dwarves doubling up as members of the chorus and dancing troupe.

Also showing up well are Stuart Moyes, who plays Herman the Huntsman; Emily Shaw, who plays the Wicked Queen’s assistant Marmalade; Shonagh Ferguson, a steadfast Prince Lancelot; and not forgetting Ros Mundell’s giggly magic mirror.

There’s clearly a ton of work done behind the curtains as well to make it all work, from Andy Smith’s superb stint on the lighting and, of course, Jim Vause’s blinding – literally – work on the pyrotechnics.

Production crew members Reece Hartdegen, Greg Small, Andy Smith, Bruce Scott, Martin Ozwald and Jackie Walls.

Production crew members Reece Hartdegen, Greg Small, Andy Smith, Bruce Scott, Martin Ozwald and Jackie Walls.

Producer Margaret Moyes can be proud of the show – which is on tonight (Thursday) and putting on its last evening show tomorrow night at 6.30pm and ends its run with a matinee tomorrow at 1.30pm.

Tickets (£7, £5 concessions, £20 family) are available from ILF Imaging or by calling 07496 274280 to book.

Cast

Wicked Queen: Catherine Macfarlane; Snow White: Kim Jeffrey; Dame Victoria Sponge: Lisa Scott; Muddles: Ali Hill; Herman: Stuart Moyes; Marmalade: Emily Shaw; Prince Lancelot: Shona Ferguson; The Mirror: Ros Mundell. Doc: Kathy Webber; Bashful: Sophie Hyslop; Sneezy: Daniel Drummond; Sleepy: Shelley Brankin; Dopey: Charlie Marshall; Grumpy: Mike Webber; Happy: Erin Hogg.

Chorus: Shelley Brankin, Nikki Brotherston, Daniel Drummond, Neve Douglas, John Lee Elder, Lia Gilligan, Jessica Graham, Erin Hogg, Sophie Hyslop; Gordon McScotland; Charlie Marshall; Roslyn Mundell; Emily Shaw; Kathy Webber and Mike Webber.

Hamilton family were at the first dress rehearsal, Angus, Lucy and Emily

Hamilton family were at the first dress rehearsal, Angus, Lucy and Emily