Written by Brendon Bennetts
Directed by Andrew Todd
The Court Theatre, Christchurch
10th – 22nd July
Only the magic of theatre can save Snow White in The Court Theatre’s latest production.
What starts as a regular production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs quickly goes off the rails when the “real” actors can’t perform, and three ushers are forced to step in to do the show themselves. The result is a production filled with manic energy and a hefty dollop of audience participation – particularly when the script calls for seven dwarfs.
Director Andrew Todd, an on-stage veteran of numerous kids shows as well as a Court Jester and filmmaker, is enjoying his first time in the director’s chair. “I really love going to work and creating theatre for kids,” says Todd. “I love the style of comedy that kids’ theatre has… broad physical slapstick and precisely constructed jokes.”
This original take on Snow White is the creation of writer Brendon Bennetts, whose recent kids shows at The Court, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood, similarly took a fresh look at classic fairy tales.
Todd describes Bennetts’ script as a “madcap” show that explores how theatre works. “At the heart of it is three characters who have never put on a show before being thrust into a situation where they have to,” says Todd, “and putting on a show is exciting.”
Playing the three reluctant performers on the brink of disaster are Rhiannon McCall, Crisstian Grueber and Greta Casey-Solly. “Everyone in the cast has different strengths,” says Todd. “Rhiannon has a strong improv background; Greta trained at NASDA; and Crisstian is a brilliant piano player and physical comedian. It’s been a lovely exchange of ideas.”
Set designer, Chris Reddington, has created a “traditional” Snow White backdrop that can accommodate the frantic action, while costume designer Sarah Douglas has made numerous colourful outfits for the performers’ multiple roles.
Todd hopes that the young audiences leave the theatre excited by how the story was told. “By the end of the show I don’t want kids wanting to be Snow White, I want them to dream of going into theatre.”
Snow White is part of the 2017 KidsFest and plays at The Court Theatre from 10 – 22 July.