‘Snow White and the Seven Christmas Elves’ is a typical English pantomime, written by a young Devonshire playwright, Alex Jackson. It contains all the ‘behind you’ and ‘Oh no I didn’t’ comments and the audience for the show that I saw needed no priming or encouragement, they were straight into it. Even a little three-year-old insisted on knowing why The Dame had a beard! So asked ‘her’ about half a dozen times. The panto experience started as soon as you arrived, with an Elves’ House display created by Kirsten Halford-Bailey and Chris Harris at the theatre entrance.
This fun show has a season of mainly matinées until 12th December. You can catch it at the Roxy Theatre at 55 Ninth Avenue, in Maylands. Check for times and tickets first at www.taztix.com.au/event/roxylanetheatre-xmas
The Scene: 1600, in a small hamlet called MeinFahrt – no! it is German for ‘my journey’! – which is near a forest somewhere in England.
The Set designer: Maria Passalacqua. The wings comprise three revolving flats at each side of the stage. They are decorated on each side, so that there can be up to 12 different locations represented. On a dais at the rear of the stage was a forest scene and the interior of the castle. The village watering hole in the foyer was courtesy of Don Weaver.
Set builder: Jim Chantry built the set with the help of Father Christmas.
Set painters: Sharon Thomas – boo hiss – oops sorry, this was the Queen being helpful; along with Celeste Lopez and Madi Kate worked hard to give us some very pleasing scenes.
Lighting technician: Simon MacKenzie had quite a complex lighting design, and with lots of colour.
Sound technician: Fleur Pereira produced powerful dramatic effects.
Very smart and clear little programme, but no credit listed. The excellent photos for the programme and foyer display were by JaredFinneran and Luke Harmony
As the curtains open, a line of little Elves is seen marching home from their work in Santa’s workshop. A Jack-the Lad character called Harry Bush (Teale Harrison) arrives and introduces himself. He is the handsome son of the ostentatiously dressed, Dame Holly Bush (Craig Nicholls) who is royal housekeeper to the ugly Queen Miserable (Sharon Thomas, who could really dish out the dirt). The Queen and her annoying pageboy, Humbug (Noel Abdul-Hanif – an absolute natural for pantos) were delightfully nasty.
Daily, the Queen checks to see who the most beautiful person in her Kingdom is, and every day she discovers it is still Snow White (Cora Lacey) the most talented girl in the area. Snow White lives in the woods with the seven elves; the elves who are called Stocking (Madi Kate), Grinch (Carolena Shaw), Cracker (Callum Hunter), Dusty (Abbeylee Cole), Cosy (Barbara Mortimer), Jangle (Alannah Gillis) and Twinkle (Anya Peterson).
The jealous Queen wants to kill Snow White, but Fairy Jinglebell (Jennifer Lilley) who is training up a new student, Fairy Frosting (Ellie Skinner) to help her gain her wings and a very special man in a red suit appears in the mirror (Jim Chantry), they want to protect poor Snow White.
The Queen sends for her servant (Luke Heath) and Lady servant (Giuseppina Mammone), together they decide to send out the castle’s stupid guards, Brussel (Greg Hopson) and Sprout (Christine Ellis) to search for the irritating beauty and get rid of her for ever. As the guards search the forest, a young handsome and rich prince from another area, Prince Noel (Brodie Atkinson) is also walking through the woods. He finds Snow White sleeping, she has eaten a poison apple, how can he save her?
There are parts of the story that are dark, but most of the young audience realised that if they shouted loud enough the bad spells would go away. However, the company offered a table with pictures to colour outside in the foyer for those too frightened; a great idea, but I suspect that one five-year-old girl feigned fear to do drawing instead.
Director, Maria Passalacqua has selected a young and mainly inexperienced cast, and yet their stage presence was amazing. Even with a small stage and narrow wings’ areas, the cast still moved well. Aided by assistant directors, Luke Heath and Christine Ellis, the cast captured the genre, performing with an abundance of smiles and energy. Sadly, the voice projection with both spoken word and most of the singing was often a little weak. With a wall of curtain, the sound was perhaps absorbed more than usual.
Great costumes, realism and colour and a huge amount of work from Christine Ellis and Celeste Lopez.
Congratulations to Harry – Teale Harrison – who, along with the fairies Fairy Jinglebell (Jennifer Lilley) and Fairy Frosting (Ellie Skinner), injected energy and excitement into the panto every couple of minutes. Dusty – Abbeylee Cole – with ‘his’ brilliant sneezes was amazing, and the acrobatic contortions of Twinkle (Anya Peterson) made everyone gasp. A great cast with good interaction and rapport, you could see they had been well advised by the director as to their characters. Ideal for the under tens.
The children LOVED it It is some time since I saw so many smiling faces at the interval.