Keep children away? Oh, no, we wouldn’t...

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In the classic panto tale of Snow White, the more the merrier is certainly the message from Happy, Sneezy and the rest of the gang.

And it’s also a state of mind supported by members of the Little Gaddesden Drama Club, whose current pantomime is a unique take on the much-loved fairytale.

One panto elsewhere in the county took the controversial step last month to ban children under three years old from performances, but this village am-dram society stresses that the very young are welcome guests.

Shaun McCarthy, director of Snow White and the Seven You-Know-Whats, said: “We normally have the seating arrangements in tables and chairs with the bar open for adults, and put the little kids at the front so they can all see properly.

“We expect there to be a lot of audience participation and we like people heckling from the floor. There is always going to be the odd babe in arms and that is fine by us.”

Shaun also said the substitution of dwarfs for ‘you-know-whats’ in their latest show works on many levels, with adult characters that parents can also identify with.

He added: “It is a real mickey-take of certain things that are going on in the world.

“There are lots of plays on words and role-reversals. It will also be great for the kids to see as there is a lot of audience interaction.”

This modern take on the old classic fable was written by villager Patrick Isherwood, making the panto’s opening night on January 18 a world premiere of his play.

Shaun said: “This is a brilliant new production.

“He is not involved in the direction of the play but he is very involved in the production. You can’t say that if you are working on a Shakespeare play – he doesn’t even show up.”

There are six performances on January 18, 19, 25 and 26, including matinees on both Saturdays. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children – email or call 01442 842780. They are also available from the Little Gaddesden Post Office.