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Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves


Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves by Sleeping Trees

"manic, madcap, marvellous"

You know it's panto time when the theatre doors open and Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You quietly plays and the excitement builds in the audience.

Sleeping Tree's show begins with the company members introducing themselves: James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith and John Woodburn.

[The cast: Ben Hales, then Snow White, Scrooge and a Munchkin]

From a simple start, anarchy soon takes over and the show is terrific fun. Aided and abetted by the superb Ben Hales (sneakily supplying music and sound effects) the hapless trio embark on a ridiculously silly story that the audience are more than happy to join in with. The expected slapstick and songs come thick and fast. I will refrain from any spoilers, suffice to say there are quite a few plot twists along the way.

For me, I thought the peril stakes with Tiny Tim could be more effective. Instead, the show steers well-clear of the heart-strings and peril of any sort, preferring to focus on The Three Stooges school of comedy.

[John Woodburn as Scrooge]

John Woodburn, especially, shines as Scrooge, amongst other characters. His portrayal of the magic mirror is in glorious danger of stealing the show. He sometimes has a stillness on stage that the others lack.

A wonderful set, designed by Zahra Mansouri, uses the tiny space to the full.

[James Dunnell Smith as the Wicked Witch]

The whole evening reminded me of other shows such as Thunderbirds FAB, The 39 Steps and The Play That Goes Wrong. It is a style of theatre that has spawned so many brilliant companies over the years. Sleeping Trees are the newest on the block.

[Joshua George Smith as Bob Cratchit]

Three words to sum up the evening: manic, madcap, marvellous.

The panto is at the Theatre 503, London SW11 running until January 7th 2017.

Facebook - Sleeping Trees and Theatre503

Twitter - @wesleepingtrees, @theatre503, #Scrooge503

(Production photos ⓒ David Monteith-Hodge)

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