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Ian Waller and his family enjoy the fairest pantomime in the land!

What an amazing family night out! Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome is one of the best pantos we’ve ever seen, and with three children, we’ve seen a few… Right from the start, this wonderfully scripted and choreographed production is an absolute hit, combining all of the panto cliches that we’ve all come to love – oh yes we have! – with a top class cast and huge amounts of pure fun.

One of the great things about the Hippodrome is that they know how to make you welcome, with the chance to grab a free festive photo on the way, super-friendly staff who even made having your bag searched a giggle and just the grandeur of the auditorium adding to the whole occasion. With the lights coming down, we were straight off into a welcome return to panto land, with bright colours, songs and dancing, and of course loads of pure silliness.

Charlotte Haines at Princess Snow White (Mark Dawson Photography)

From the start, Andy Ford at Muddles was absolutely superb as the panto fool – great with the audience, genuinely funny, superb at the set pieces and just naughty enough to keep the grown-ups laughing and the littlies slightly confused… As for the plot, well, there’s the lovely Princess Snow White (Charlotte Haines) and her handsome beau Prince Harry of Hengrove (Dale Mathurin), in love and looking forward to a happy ever after together. Both parts were beautifully played with real charm and skill, meaning that they were in no way overshadowed by the bigger names.

Of course, as with every panto love story, there’s the evil villain and this time around, it was the turn of Lesley Joseph – best known as Dorien Green from Birds of a Feather – as the thoroughly dastardly Queen Dragonella, determined to get her cougar like claws into Prince Harry and be rid of Snow White. Loving the boos and hisses, wonderfully terrible and clearly game for a laugh – her exchanges with Muddles are comedy gold – Ms Joseph was a joy to watch.

Lesley Joseph at Queen Dragonella (Mark Dawson Photography

As for the other star name, with Rob Rinder as The Man In The Mirror, our early concerns as to how good our learned friend – better known for his reality court show Judge Rinder – would be were soon proven to be unnecessary, as the former student of the National Youth Theatre gamely took to the part with real energy and confidence.

Dale Muthurin leading the wonderful dancers (Mark Dawson Photography)

Throughout the production, it was the set comedy pieces that really shone. The Man In The Mirror and Muddles’ Strictly style dance off was very funny, the skit about delivering letters to Who, What and I Don’t Know had my youngest repeating it all the way home, while the 12 days of Christmas has the audience in hysterics.

Add in impressive special effects, great costumes and a fair sprinkle of audience participation, and Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome is an absolute winner!

Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome runs until 2 January. For more details and to book tickets, click here