NODA Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham

PROMENADE PRODUCTIONS

Snow White

The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham January 17th 2019

Director & Choreographer: Heather Newman
MD: Paul Hardy

Assistant Director: Daphne Herbert
Assistant Choreographer: Kate Williams

This version of Snow White had obviously been re-written and brought up to date with the introduction of modern technology with tablets and laptops, which gave rise to many jokes and misunderstandings with the associated terminology. Also the Dwarfs names were slightly different and there were a few unexpected twists in the story, such as the stepmother sending for Prince Ferdinand with the intention of marrying him herself, but he falls in love with Snow White. There was the inclusion of local references, plus this year the inevitable mentions of Brexit.

The show opened with Fairy Fortune telling us, in verse, the history of Snow White prior to her 18th birthday, and with characters acting it out on the other side of the stage. We were then taken to the Palace Courtyard and a lovely dance number. When the villagers came on and started singing they were a little tentative but they moved well. All of the hired in backcloths were beautifully painted and transported us to the various locations, this theatre has restricted ‘flying’ facilities and so the cloths were on a tab track and pulled across each time. The sound effects were appropriate and well cued, and there was a good well cued sound balance between voices and band. The lighting had been well designed, differentiating well between indoor and outdoor scenes, was atmospheric, and enhanced the set and costumes, and created a lovely effect for the mirror. The wardrobe department had worked hard to provide a set of costumes of a high standard, and combined with interesting makeup presented a colourful, overall picture.

There was a good selection of well-chosen songs and dance music. The well-performed songs under the musical direction of Paul Hardy, were of a suitable length holding the attention of the children in the audience, and mostly performed with good diction, although I felt the chorus sometime lacked confidence. The show had been well choreographed by Heather Newman and Kate Williams, with group of dancers performing intricate routines, with some lovely smiles. The whole cast had worked hard on the routines they were in and looked confident. The dance when Snow White was laid to rest after eating the poisoned apple was beautifully performed and very poignant.



 

 


The show benefitted from a confident set of principals who were well supported by minor principals and chorus, although it was a little slow in places due to the lines not being picked up quickly, but I am sure this would have improved as the week progressed. Maggie Preston made a lovely fairy godmother, Fairy Fortune. Ceri Holder, was every inch the callous, evil Queen Avarice, stepmother to Snow White, she certainly had the audience booing and hissing.

Samuel Taunton was an upper class Merlin, Wizard of the Magic Mirror, spending most of his time behind ’glass’ but eventually ‘breaking free’ from evil Avarice. Francesca Fiorentini was a charming Snow White who captivated the Dwarfs and the audience. It was a delight to see the inimitable John Panett back on form as, Edina Bouquet, the Palace Housekeeper, as always interacting well with the audience and other characters. Jordan Phillpotts gave a good performance as the quaint and sometimes bemused Magistrate and legal advisor to Queen Avarice.

Ben Goodman was hilarious as his rather confused Secretary, Scribbles. Dominique Yates confidently played Prince Ferdinand love interest of both Queen Avarice and Snow white. Frank Dalton did a sterling job as Chuckles, the Queen’s new Jester, working the audience well and telling so many silly jokes, he was energetic and engaging. Tessa Champion brought humour to the role of Slurp, the palace drain cleaner and the Queen’s henchman. Then there were the Dwarfs, renamed Brainy, Smiley, Grumbly, Dozy, Snoozy, Sniffle and Blushful, all played superbly by seven young ladies. They worked together as a team, were confident, clear, with excellent timing, they pointed the jokes beautifully and waited for the audiences laughter to die down before giving their next line, they showed a maturity beyond their years.

Director Heather Newman and assistant Daphne Herbert and made sure that all areas involved in the show had worked well together to bring about this Pantomime; that everyone was confident in their roles; that the stage was well used; and that the audience was well entertained and had a good evening. Well done everyone.

Frankie Telford
Regional Representative South West District 15



Any observation made by the reviewer can only be based on what he sees at the performance in question; and that the observations made will prove helpful in improving future productions.