‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by December 6, 2013

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ is a top rate, traditional family pantomime written by Limelight Scripts UK – a young couple, Jacqui and Dennis, living in Sheffield.

This 110-minutes of fun is being presented at the Old Mill Theatre, on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel), from Wednesday – Saturday each week, until Saturday 14th December. All evening shows are at 8.00 pm with a 2.00 pm matinée on Sunday.

 

The stage is open, and reveals the most amazing woodland scene ever, the Art Gallery of WA would be proud to put it on their wall. George Boyd and James Earnshaw devised the complex, rotating, multi-set design, with the stunning artwork by Tim Prosser. The trees were weeping willows with hanging branches; the forest floor was covered in flowers and toadstools. On the right is a limestone walled castle, kitchen and dwarfs’ house. Stunning sets.

        When her mother died, Snow White (Arianne Westcott-King  –  three nights played by Grace Pooley) lived happily with her father, King Desmond (Tim Prosser). Then one day, the King was remarried, to Queen Drusilla (Valerie Henry) the most horrible woman in the country, attended by her equally cruel maid, Hannah (Darcie Azzam). She was immediately filled with jealousy at having such a beautiful stepdaughter, and would regularly consult the magic mirror (Eden Norton) to find out if she is still the most beautiful person in the land. The mirror, which was designed and controlled by the Court Wizard (Simone McMahon) and her assistant (Patrick McMahon), is wheeled around by its keeper, Neville the Chamberlain (A. J. Lowe).

       After hearing of Snow White’s superior beauty, Drusilla decides to have her killed. She arranges to have Snow White sent to school, away from her friend, Rose (Gina Steinberg) and the loving, caring, castle staff, Senna the cook (Jenny Trestrail), her maids (Barbara Lovell, Chrissie Mafroides) and the fitness trainer, Pushup (Craig Menner).

       Once in the woods Snow White is at the mercy of the hired assassin, woodchopper Hans (Howard Steinberg). As she wanders around lost, she sees exiting from a cave in the ground Prof (Rex Gray)and his six miners, Titch (Tahlia Menner), the sneezing and sniffing, Drippy (Harry Wake), Beaky (Kate Sisley, Merry (Hannah Harrison, Nicola Kinnane), the intolerant, male chauvinist, (Oliver Brown, Blake Jenkins) and the narcoleptic, Dozy (Atira Shack).

       Will the brave Prince (Sarah Christiner / two nights with Rebecca Bentley) and his sturdy steed, Dobbin (Matthew Styles) be in time to save the beautiful Princess?

A good traditional pantomime needs a few magic touches, such as colourful costumes, catchy songs, dancing, sweet little ‘darlings’, slapstick and all of the regular punch lines like ‘behind you’. This presentation had them all in abundance. Director Neroli Burton can be proud; the cast were very well rehearsed and filled with enthusiasm.

The singing was in tune – rare in pantos – even Tim Prosser was so good that we could have begged for more. Katherine Freind’s musical accompaniment was ideal, not too loud and set at a pitch that the singers could easily handle.

The children’s performances were some of the best I have ever seen. They were totally focused, good dancing co-ordination, excellent body movement and big smiles. The custard pies were perfectly delivered. Heaps of comedy from the Mirror team and Pushup. The show moved beautifully.

The costumes (Jenny Prosser, Diana Zaicos, Louise Broun, Margaret Styles) were colourful, funny, stylish and well fitted. Along with the dazzling lighting effects (designer Ben Davis, operator Karen Steinberg) and quality sound and music (Katherine Freind, operator Anna-Rose Shack), the show sparkled and glowed from the beginning to the powerful ending. Slick stage management from Michael Trestrail and Megan Burley, essential when you have a house full of young impatient children.

The dialogue has not the brilliance of Tony Nichol’s scripts, but there are plenty of clever lines, puns and up to the moment jokes. The delivery was exceptional, as trying to get the audience to join in can be hard work, last night the participation was magnificent.

Thoroughly recommended. A very high standard in a difficult genre.