Saturday, 4 January 2003

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Dance Encore Productions, Jan 4, 2003

 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  by Dance Encore Productions
Comedy Theatre, Tuesday to Sunday, January 4 to 19, 2003  
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

It is impossible to judge this production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as one would other shows. It is a success because the kids laugh and sing along and shout, " He's behind you!" like nobody's business.

This version, based on the Grimm's  fairy tale, was first presented in the 70's and is designed for young children. The show has toured Australia since. It is an artistic dinosaur.

It is refreshing to note that, even in this day of high tech entertainment, the simple things still work with kids. It is not quite an English pantomime. It feels like a dance school end of year show. There are dancing girls in outmoded peasant costumes doing out-dated choreography, the sets are plywood and there is pre-recorded music to which the chorus mimes.

There are two very fine performances from singer-actors Nicky Webb  playing Snow White  and James Allen  as The Prince.  Both have delightfully well trained and true voices and enter the old-fashioned style with great commitment.

Hilton Bonner,  also the director, is entertaining as the absent-minded King. His style is old Vaudeville comic patter and the audience shouts, "Yes you did!" and "No you didn't!" at his will.

The seven dwarves, although not highly skilled actors, are a very funny slapstick ensemble. Their scenes are the most entertaining and children flocked to get autographs after the show.

The Walt Disney   dwarf characters are not in attendance. Instead we meet The Leader,  (Scott Smith ) Smiler,  (Tim Victory) and Shy One (Jim Chapman). Sneezy is replaced by Sniffles,  (Nathan Monk) and Sleepy by Dozey  (Luke Ryan).

Jeff Bernasconi  is funny as the woman-hating Grouchy.  When he goes off to work in leathers dancing to Michael Jackson's "I'm Bad', the crowd goes wild. Stephen George  plays Silly One,  as an eye-rolling, mute, Harpo Marx  style of slapstick oddball. The kids love him.

Some of the company began in this production over twenty years ago. It has the feeling of a family on stage. It is rough and amateurish in many ways but if the children want to see it, it must be doing its job.

By Kate Herbert

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