SNOW WHITE & the SEVEN DWARFS
A-PEEL DRAMA GROUP
Pantomime is a special skill depending, as it does, so much on the cast’s individual relationships with the audience; their ability to ad lib; punch lines across; tell stories; use the audience; and the director must allow for all this in his preparation. As a consequence, each performance has different reactions depending on different audiences. Your director, Geoff, seemed to be well aware of these factors because he made sure that his cast delivered wholeheartedly on all of them. Pantomime is a form of theatre where audience manipulation and participation is vital and your cast made me feel involved all night and part of the story with you throughout
Your story was told by an exciting blend of youth and experience which is great from the audience’s point of view and bodes well for the future of the company in particular, and amateur theatre in general. It was interesting to see a slightly different approach with the way your story was told. Traditional pantomime, for example, centres vary much around the character of the Dame – this one didn’t. She was still outrageous and so much larger than life, but the responsibility for comedy and audience involvement was shared rather than dominated by that character. Perhaps the story line was somewhat stronger and more believable than usual. Be that as it may, it was still fantasy and fulfilled our expectations of how we were to be entertained and we left for home having had a most enjoyable, well presented evening’s entertainment which was the object of the exercise. So, first of all congratulations to Geoff and his cast for their super production which had invention, originality, enthusiasm and skill. A definite achievement.
The action took place in the backyard of the Palace; adjacent to the Mystical Mirror Chamber; in the Wild Wood and in and around the Dwarfs’ cottage – all displayed believably and giving space for the actors to have unrestricted areas for their movement and particularly so, for crowd and scenes which involved choreography taking place. I thought this department did the show proud all round. Realistic, and colourful, the sets provided something spot on in front of which to tell your story. There were one or two late entrances where cast were kept waiting on stage, but, overall, your locations were spectacular.
A well-lit show with good effects when required and there was much atmosphere in the production. I liked the effect of the bird flying above stage area, denoting Wonderwings achieving her ambition through the appreciation and gratitude of Fairy Goodheart – super touch that.
The show was well costumed by Mary Millard and Jean Kilburn. It seems invidious to select as the overall standard was so high. All seemed to fit well, were not in the least constricting and created blaze of colour. I must mention the costumes of Speak True, the Mirror and Danny when he had to be it, not because they were the best – it was because they were so shatteringly and blindingly silver - I have never seen an effect like that before. Well done, everybody, involved in Wardrobe, Make-up, Staging, Lighting, Sound and Backstage in anyway – you did us all proud and I’m sure you realised that by our reactions and appreciations.
The seven dwarfs were played by members of the Whitfield School of Dancing and they lit up the stage each time they entered. Obviously their characters are an integral part of the story of Snow White, but their participation in and the magic they brought to this production, whether with their choreography, which was gold medal standard in synchronisation, or their acting and spoken contribution to the dialogue of the story, which was full of pace and meaning, spoke volume for the future of amateur theatre in its many forms. Each time they “Hi,ho! Hi Ho’d” their way to work off stage, we eagerly awaited their next appearance such was their influence on the story.
I thought that Geoff’s use of the stage was good throughout. All moves were realistic and purposeful, and principal characters commanded the stage when they were on. There was such obvious personal joy and enthusiasm expressed in each characterisation showing utter belief and enjoyment in the people they were pretending to be that they brought elements of real life and sustained interest in what was still a fairy story, making the telling of it quite absorbing.
A word of tribute to Geoff for his conception, organisation, and overall direction and production. There were the odd shortcomings, as there are with most stage presentations of any sort. When one considers he has worked with a mixture of the very young and the more mature; the ones starting out on their careers and the more experienced; enthusiasm, effort, dedication and enjoyment shone through. He obtained depth in many characterisations and each one was different. Well done, Geoff! You can be proud of your creation.
To rehearse a cast of some thirty people, organise backstage effects, properties and scenery, feed in music and choreography, put it all together, striving for maximum performance all round, needs special skills. Well done, Geoff!
Snow White was played by Donna Clare and her prince Frederick by Naomi Rostron and they gave us the happy ending. Queen Grimelza was Lorraine Reynolds assisted by Harvey Millard as black Wing, her creepy servant, and they spent the whole story unsuccessfully doomed to failure when they enlisted the aid of the clueless failures Stinkwort and Bogwort – Shaun Crossley and John Essex. Emily Kay was Fairy Goodheart and Anne Bermingham, her companion Wonderwings. Dolly Dempling , our famous Dame, was Chris Rowlinson, ably assisted by ever-smiling Norman Beaver as Danny. Speak True, the mirror was George Smith and other parts were played by Mary Millard, Geoff Millard, Pam Malcolm, Naomi Taylor and Stacy Dawber.
Thank you for a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment. Pantomime should be played for all its worth and this one was. There were some very high spots and I am sure the audience enjoyed it on the night I was there. You gave pleasure and a taste of spectacle to many people. Congratulations to all involved in whatever capacity on and off stage.
Thank you for your hospitality.