After being variously "disgusted", "horrified" and driven to "scream with boredom" by other pantomime productions from the 'Goodies House Of Humour' (such as 'Cinderella' and 'Sleeping Beauty'), the audience is duly warned that "just when you thought it was safe to go back to the pantomime", a new bloodthirsty show is about to hit the theatre – 'Snow White 2'! A recap of the story so far (with an inscription in the storybook of "Oh surely we don't have to remind you of this …") reveals that "once upon a time, a pretty young girl named Snow White lived all alone in the woods with seven little men" (as one dwarf smiles, winks and gives a thumbs-up signal as he happily trots into the cottage, while another gives an even more ecstatic pump of his fists before going inside!) This is much to the shocked surprise of Snow White's neighbours (the three Goodies) who were even more shocked when she "seemed to be having a really good time" with them (as she waves cheerfully to the Goodies after the dwarves have staggered out of the door of her house looking rather exhausted!)
But one day Snow White "met a Handsome Prince" (who was "quite obviously a woman dressed up in men's clothes, but this didn't seem to bother Snow White") and they had a real thigh-slapping time together before they ran off to live happily ever after in a huge palace; which left the appalled dwarves behind at the house (making loony signals as the narrator observes that Snow White is "a little weirdo, that one!) and also out of work. Initially Snow White didn't forget her tiny male friends, as she even "invited them to the palace for a game of skittles" (lining them up like ninepins and knocking them all over with a bowling ball!) and despite her changed attitude to the dwarves as a princess ("Stuff them!"), she also gave them "little jobs in the garden" as gnomes. However after two dwarves died of exposure during the cold weather and another one was swallowed whole by a goldfish, the remaining four dwarves decided to advertise for three new dwarves to "reform the group and go back to working in the mine", and this is where the story begins (as the storybookwhich was previously tossed high in the air crashes down on top of the marching dwarves, much to their surprise).
The four original dwarves march along through the woods (merrily singing "Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work we go … ") with three rather tall new dwarves at the back of the line - the three Goodies - who have to assume high voices to avoid suspicion. However after the Goodies continually bump into head-high obstacles (such as low hanging tree branches and a garden arch that the other dwarves easily fit underneath) and have great difficulty fitting into dwarf-sized clothing, they eventually raise the suspicion of the Chief Dwarf (especially when they stand up together inside the house, put their heads through the ceiling and collapse the entire flimsy house around them!) The Chief Dwarf reconvenes the meeting outside ("Twy again, shall we?") and upon finally realising that the Goodies are not dwarfs (as Tim pleads "We were desperate for work!"), he nastily declares "We have ways of making you short!" and sends the Goodies off with the Fearsome Woodcutter into the forest at dawn to have their legs chopped off.
Fortunately for the nervous Goodies, the tiny woodman "just can't do it" though (mainly because he falls over every time he raises the heavy axe!) and lets them go, but they are now out of work, and pack their red spotted hankies (into a large cumbersome wooden case) to "set off into the wide, wide world". Tim wants to know "the way to London Town" (which Graeme points out is just "over there", with the busy Underground station only a short distance away); however the Fairy Godmother (Tim in a fairy costume using his Lady Constance voice) materialises and promises that "I shall help you", only for her rhyming dialogue to confuse matters even further. Graeme wants to head in a different direction to that suggested (to a grouchy retort of "Do you think you know better than a Fairy Godmother?!") while Bill decides to "take the Tube" instead; so the Fairy Godmother snaps that "You're on your own!" and sends in "a man to play the xylophone" to annoy them, as the Goodies rapidly flee the scene.
The Goodies soon become lost in a spooky section of Battersea Park (with Bill's bright idea of leaving a trail of white spots from his red hanky unfortunately being cancelled out by a sudden snowstorm) and Tim's dramatic theatrical lament that "their gnarled trunks look like evil faces" draws a round of applause from the grove of haunted trees themselves. Graeme conveniently purchases a newspaper from one of the haunted trees as the Goodies "must find a new job tomorrow", but apart from their old job ("3 dwarves to make a 7") and one for a "genie, must have own lamp" (which Bill refuses because he'd "have to diet" to get into the lamp in the first place!), they find that all of the best jobs are rather unfairly being offered to women only. Tim pleads for help (and the Fairy Godmother duly arrives), but his wistful wish to be directed to the palace occurs sooner than expected as the Goodies are surrounded and trapped in a net by a bunch of the princesses (who are dressed in hunting clothes), then carted off to the palace dangling from hunting poles.
Although the Goodies dress up in an array of silly costumes and thoroughly entertain the princesses with a rousing rendition of 'M.A.N. – That's How We Spell WORK", they are soon unceremoniously turfed out of the palace (a long drop right from the top of the tower) and onto the scrap heap below; where they are joined by the dwarves, ugly sisters and other pantomime characters which the men are forced to play. Bill grumbles that "We men aren't good enough" (to which the Chief Dwarf wryly laments "Neither are big men!") and a plan is hatched to "invade that castle" to put an end to this "sheer discrimination" by the increasingly bossy princesses. ("Then the glass slipper will be on the other foot!") Bill comes up with the idea of entering the palace inside a pantomime cow ("Princesses are suckers for pantomime cows!"), so the Goodies venture to Panto Alley (where vendors keenly sing sales pitches for everything from pumpkins to dead rats!) and make a purchase from 'Honest Eddie's Used Cows' before they head to the castle door in their new disguise. The pantomime cow gets an enthusiastic reception from the squealing princesses, who jump aboard and ride it around all over the place (after clapping two bricks on its tail to get it to jump over a wall!), only to then slam the palace door in its face as they scamper inside. After this latest rejection, the Goodies scale the castle wall inside the cow suit and are ready to let the other men inside the palace when Bill and Graeme (dressed as old-time airmen) notice that Tim has "bought it" and "bailed out" (even after a quick check to "see if he's hiding in the udder!"); but he has left them a strange note ("If the gates to open you begin, to let the revolution in, be warned for there is nothing meaner, than a waxy Timbellina!")
In a bizarre twist, Tim assumes his role as the Fairy Godmother to prevent the men from being allowed to enter the castle and has a pitched battle against Bill and Graeme (who are now dressed as rather camp-looking musketeers), with lightsabers used as the main weapons (with Tim and Graeme conducting a particularly fierce duel across an ever-widening gap between two staircases). Graeme eventually swings across the room to the door on a chandelier as the ladies are distracted by the realisation that the Fairy Godmother is actually "another man" and the men are finally let inside. There is a huge brawl between the men and the princesses (with plenty of pantomime-style slaps and punches being thrown) and eventually the pummelled princesses plead to the Goodies that "we'd do anything for you" in order to escape from the palace; an offer which a gleeful Bill hastily accepts ("You're on!")
While the dwarves and the rest of the men are happily singing along to the inane words of 'I Lift Up My Finger And I Say Tweet Tweet', the Goodies usher the princesses outside the palace, wave goodbye to the men (who give a cross glare, but then couldn't really care less as the women depart) and get the women to wait on them hand and foot for ever more. A final refrain from the Fairy Godmother declares that "They've learnt a lesson, now it's over, the girls will keep the boys in clover, they help them eat and drink and rest, and give them what the boys like best!", but the Goodies' eager expressions quickly turn to angry glares when all of the ladies start to hammer away on their xylophones!
* Tim (to chief dwarf, after another dwarf tries to take the rap): "Don't listen to him, he's just covering for us. I'm ... not a dwarf."
Graeme (resigned): "Nor me."
Bill (boldly): "I nearly am!"
* Tim (forlornly, as the Goodies wander Battersea Park): "Woe is me. What's to become of us? No home and no job. And we haven't got a bag of beans, or an old lamp, or even a faithful cow."
Bill (bluntly): "Well we're screwed then, aren't we!"
* Bill (about male pantomime characters): "No, we have to wear tasteless costumes and horrible great wigs and nasty grotesque makeup - makes us look like Barbara Cartland!"
* Graeme (as an old-time airman inside the pantomime cow): "What the hell's going on back there?!"
Bill (mournfully): "It's Timbo, it's Tail-end Charlie. I think he's bought it! It's Tim, he's gone."
Graeme: "Gone? He can't have gone! See if he's hiding in the udder!"
Bill (after checking): "No, he's not in there. Must have bailed out. There's only one way out of this crate!" (Bill and Graeme both shudder and grimace at the very thought!)
* The opening sequence promoting the 'Goodies House Of Humour' and its upcoming attraction, with the audience having already being "disgusted" by 'Cinderella' (especially Ugly Sister Graeme sporting an enormous pair of knockers!) "horrified" by having to sing along with the ridiculous 'I Lift Up My Finger And I Say Tweet Tweet' in 'Babes In The Wood', and being forced to "scream with boredom" when a man is sent on stage to play the xylophone to cover set changes in 'Sleeping Beauty'. Also the Goodies then seating themselves in an empty theatre and being scared stiff as several black and white fins weave through the rows of seats towards them to the appropriate 'Jaws' theme music, only for the 'fins' to be the caps of the seven dwarves, who menacingly surround them to promote the upcoming horrors of 'Snow White 2'
* The running joke throughout the show, with the aforementioned talentless, annoying xylophone player continually popping up at the most unexpected times and places, including in Battersea Park when the Goodies are lost, already being inside the castle when they are carted in by the female hunters, getting belatedly tossed off the tower onto the scrap heap (then still thumping away on his battered instrument to the annoyance of the other men), having Graeme destroy his xylophone during the swordfight with the Fairy Godmother and drumming away on the women's heads with his xylophone sticks during the big brawl at the climax, with the ladies joining in the infernal xylophone playing right at the end.
* The inquisition by the Chief Dwarf regarding the "impostors in our midst", with him firstly asking "Wight lads, stand up!" inside the cottage, only for the Goodies to put their heads straight through the ceiling and collapse the entire house around them, and then reconvening the meeting outside and saying that he hopes he doesn't need to "wesort to the wuler" to figure out who the culprits are. One of the actual dwarves cracks under the pressure of the Chief Dwarf's interrogation ("Alright, I'll confess, it's me!"), but Tim owns up that he and his fellow Goodies are the impostors as "We were desperate for work!" and Bill (who claims to be only "five foot, three-and-a-half", to the horrified gasps of "Giant!" from the dwarves!) demands "the right to work" and declares that the Chief Dwarf is just being "sizeist" (threatening to report him to the "Size Relations Board"!) Upon the Goodies confessing to being tall, but still wanting to be dwarves, the Chief Dwarf snidely declares "We have ways of making you short!" (to the maniacal close-up laughter of the other dwarves); sending the three Goodies off with the Fearsome Woodcutter to have their legs chopped off. However despite the dwarf woodsman painting lines on their legs for his axe to target, he "just can't do it" because the axe is so heavy that he keeps falling over when he tries to swing it - "Can't do it! Sorry lads! Oops!"
* The visual sequence to "M.A.N - That's How We Spell WORK", with the Goodies forced to dress up in a variety of weird and tasteless costumes to amuse and entertain the princesses. These include bellhops, pantomime princes, Humpty Dumpty (Graeme the googy-egg, who falls off the wall and gets cracked over the head with a big spoon), chefs (who pepper each other with pies in the face), lion rugs (which the girls jump on, much to the agony of the Goodies), genies from a magic lamp (who do silly Arabian dances), oversized geese which are flogged by the princesses to produce golden eggs (with Tim sending a volley of golden eggs flying everywhere after copping a particularly brutal thrashing), and cannibals (with bones stuck through various parts of their heads). All the while, the girls are dancing alongside them, but then show their total lack of gratitude by throwing the Goodies off the turret and onto a scrap heap of rubbish below, with the dwarves and some rather camp-looking pantomime princes for company. This is followed later by a loud scream and thud, then the xylophone man enthusiastically plays his crumpled instrument to a barrage of rotten fruit and vegetables from the other disgruntled men present.
* The strange twist, with Tim turning into Timbellina the Fairy Godmother (complete with violin case, cigar and 'Godfather' theme music!) and fighting Bill and Graeme with lightsabers as they try to open the palace door to let the other men in. Also a poncily-dressed Graeme requiring padding to be fitted to his leg after he continually slaps himself on the thigh cowboy-style (only to then firmly slap his other unprotected thigh instead!), a bank of candles being lit simultaneously with one swoosh of a lightsaber by Tim, and Bill swallowing his lightsaber whole, then bending over and blowing it out the other end, with it exploding and setting fire to some curtains!
David Rappaport, Richard Briers, Annette Lyons, Syd Wright
(Seven Dwarves & Princes: Kenny Baker, Peter Burroughs, George Claydon, Mike Cottrel, Malcolm Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Tony Friel, John Ghavan, Rusty Goffe, Jackie Purvies, Gerald Stadden)
(Princesses: Jacki Barron, Caroline Dillon, Jane Faith, Carol Forbes, Jackie Hall, Nola Haynes, Chrissie Kendall, Chrissie Monk, Wanda Rokicki, Jane Winchester)
M.A.N. - That's How We Spell WORK
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A very colourful and cheerful, though at times somewhat juvenile, show in keeping with the children's pantomime theme, with enough amusing visuals and dialogue to make it quite enjoyable for older Goodies fans as well.
BLACK PUDDING RATING