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Snow White sensation with Sooty and Sweep

PUBLISHED: 15:50 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 16 August 2010

CAST: Keavy Lynch, Richard Cadell and Letitia Dean in Snow White.

CAST: Keavy Lynch, Richard Cadell and Letitia Dean in Snow White.

HI ho, hi ho, it s off to Croydon you should go - if you want to catch a really good panto, that is, writes Mark Campbell. Duo Pantomimes production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - running until January 3 at the Ashcroft Theatre - is great fun for

HI ho, hi ho, it's off to Croydon you should go - if you want to catch a really good panto, that is, writes Mark Campbell.

Duo Pantomimes' production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - running until January 3 at the Ashcroft Theatre - is great fun for all the family, with standout turns from Letitia Dean (EastEnders) and Sooty and Sweep right-hand man Richard Cadell.

Cadell is also adapter, director and co-producer of the show, and as the comic stooge Muddles he brings the house down with his quick-fire banter, slapstick antics and amazing magic tricks.

Seasoned pro Adam Daye plays Dame Donut. He forms half of a brilliant double act with Cadell, each outdoing the other with a seemingly endless stream of terrible jokes.

Various mishaps on press night added to the fun, with much corpsing as a skeleton lost its leg - leading to a hilarious off-the-cuff Heather Mills gag.

Letitia Dean was a buxom, black-booted Wicked Queen who truly dominated the stage - shame about her wooden henchmen - and got the enthusiastic Croydon audience booing her right from the off.

Pity that she disappears from the story once she's 'permanently' transformed into an old crone (a confusing bit of stage business); I'd like to have seen more of her.

It's doubly puzzling that she appears in the walkdown transformed into a good version of herself, without explanation.

Former B*Witched singer Keavy Lynch plays Snow White, bringing charm and beauty to the role.

With her lovely Irish brogue, she's a real hit with the younger ones in the audience. Stephen Dean, brother of Letitia, plays the Prince.

The seven dwarves - names subtly altered lest Walt Disney sues - are led by the excellent Maxwell Laird as Growler.

My childhood hero Sooty makes fleeting appearances, with his partner-in-crime Sweep providing a wonderfully surreal moment as a hanky-clutching Pavarotti squeaking out 'Nessun Dorma'. Also memorable is a Tommy Cooper-inspired 'magic cup' routine performed by Magic Circle member Cadell, with Sooty as the vanishing 'ball'.

Thank goodness we get a hilariously inventive ghost chase around the haunted 'Ashcroft Hotel', followed by a spectacular UV dance - something absent from supposedly bigger and better pantos.

There's no songsheet, but Cadell brings out the best in the little kids he brings up on stage.

Full of rude jokes, energetic slapstick routines and a fast, child-friendly script, Croydon's Snow White is a delight.

* Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, until 3 January 2010. Tickets: 020 8688 9291.

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