PROMISING to be bigger and better than ever, Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime features one of the most star-filled line-ups yet.
With the cast of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs unveiled at the theatre this week, the Solihull News was invited along to meet some of the leading players.
“We’ve got legends and legends in the making,” proclaimed John Partridge, who plays the Prince, and he’s not wrong.
From television royalty Stephanie Beacham playing the Evil Queen to rising star Danielle Hope as Snow White, Birmingham Hippodrome’s production promises to be “the Palladium of pantomimes.”
TV presenter and stylist Gok Wan will also be making his first panto performance as the Man in the Mirror, giving his sage advice to character in need of some sartorial support, even if he had some unusual comments on his own costume.
“I spend 100 hours a week telling people how to dress.
“But now I’m sat here looking gayer than I have ever looked. I’m a silver tampon.”
Singer and comedian Gary Wilmot is making his debut as the Dame and admits he felt “incredibly comfortable” in his fabulous, enormous dress.
Danielle Hope shot to fame on the BBC’s Over the Rainbow in 2010, aged just 17, and has gone on to star in the West End productions of The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy and Les Miserable as Eponine.
But she says playing Snow White was a childhood dream come true.
“When I was in reception, I would go to the dressing up box, everyday, and put on Snow White’s dress and no one could get it off me. It was like my uniform.”
Famous for her bitchy roles in Dynasty, The Colbys and Bad Girls, Stephanie Beacham was looking forward to stepping into another evil role, as the Queen.
“You push the story forward,” she explains, when asked about playing the villain of the piece. “You don’t react, you cause the reaction. Other people react to your wicked ways. It’s also rather fun to set a character up for a fall.”
Beacham said she had seen a “real sea-change” in panto since Ian McKellen appeared as the Dame in the Old Vic’s Aladdin, with the festive shows no longer being a dirty word in the acting world.
As well as the star-studded cast, which also includes Paul Zerdin as Muddles and Matt Slack as Oddjob. Although director Michael Harrison revealed the show would not be using real dwarf actors to play Happy, Grumpy, Bashful and co but seven physical theatre actors will wear special costumes to make them look smaller.
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs is at Birmingham Hippodrome from December 19 to February 2.