‘The Secret of Snow White’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by July 31, 2017

‘The Secret of Snow White’ is a classic, UK-styled pantomime. Written by the master of pantos, WA’s very own, Tony Nicholls, Murdoch Theatre Company have brought his double-entendres script to life. Aimed mainly at children of seven upwards, the parents will love the hilarious subscript written with them in mind.

This lively two-and-a-half-hour show was produced by Tijana Šimić and Dean Lovatt, and presented at the Nexus Theatre in Murdoch University’s grounds. The shows being on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 6.30 until 29th July. A matinée on the Saturday has free entry for the children.

Front of house ran smoothly, despite the numerous milling kids thanks to Nasyhihar Md Zaini, Rebecca Dilley, Claire Tebbut and Sara McIntosh

 

Róisín Claire assisted the Set Designer, John King and they produced a good castle wall and gate, a dungeon, forest scene and a particularly colourful dwarfs’ house. Essential magic like this grabs the children’s imagination, and captures them as future theatregoers.

John King and Tim Brain mentored the lighting designer and operator. Nick Morant skilfully operated the Follow Spot.

The smooth sound design and operation was by Ryan Gardner. Jess Hooper assisted the production manager Jess Serio in the complex but faultless stage management.

       The insanely jealous, Queen Nigella (Ella Ewart – wonderful), has once again consulted the Mirror – Spiegel (Aaron Hamilton) to find out who is the fairest in the land. If ever the mirror names someone else, the Queen sends around her hitmen, Rag (Dylan Cox) and Tag (Zharele le Roux) to kill the competition. One day she is told Snow White (Priyanaka Sivabalan) the daughter of the man-hungry Royal cook, Gloria Mundy (Michael Thomas).

     The Royal servant, dim Melvin (Matthew Dingli), delivers a letter with a crown on the envelope to the Queen. It says that Prince Diamond (Nic Doig) and his groom, Gloom (Jacob Wehr Murphy) are on their way. The letter announces that the Prince is going to propose marriage to one of the Royal Family.

     Sir Cumference (Max Conroy) warns Snow White that she is in danger, and advises her to live in the forest with the six dwarf miners, Lotto (Catarina Chesworth), Macho (Ainsley Marr), Fatso (Tarryn McGrath), Slow (Injeong Hwang) and Grotto (Kamara Churchill) who are led by Geo (Tijana Forrestall). Snow White finds that they are all a little strange and somewhat feminine, and a seventh member, a well-endowed Dwarf called Greg (Nicolletta De Gennaro), has just joined them.

     In a desperate final attempt to get rid of Snow White, Queen Nigella sent Mori (Codie Lam) and her deadly pet spider, Hairy legs (Xarna Rappold) to seek her out and kill her.

       Will Snow White die?

 

A good pantomime should have lots of colour, fun costumes, and a couple of eccentrics, someone to love and another to feel sorry for, then of course a villain to ‘boo’. This top rate panto had all of these features, plus a wonderful ‘dame’ (my two grandkids did not see through you Michael, well done) and the all-important ‘behind you’. However, the playwright can write all of these features into a panto, but not every director manages to capture the genre fully, but there is no doubt that Director Kate Willoughby assisted by Nina Gee certainly did. The cast was alive, vibrant and the magic was a joy to watch.

Ally Snell’s inventive costume design was a delight, from the smart mediaeval costumes to the hilarious herd of singing cows. Codie Lin’s makeup design was clever; from the dwarfs’ beards to the rosebud lips of the Queen, (Ella’s osculation’s were amazing). A huge amount of work went into the visual presentation.

The choreography was arranged by ‘Hairylegs the spider’ herself – Xarna Rappold. Xarna has an infectious presence, she does not just dance but is wildly alive, and giving the impression that she is performing for each member of the audience individually. No one was given credited for the music, but the ‘Toot, Toot’ chorus went well, with the whole line-up singing and dancing with gusto. Whilst not really dancing, Prince Diamond was performing like John Cleese of ‘Fawlty Towers’ on steroids, with his long tortuous paces and exaggerated body contortions – the children loved it.

Great teamwork. The show sparkled.