Chickenshed Theatre, London – until 11 January 2020
Written and directed by Lou Stein, Snow White by Chickenshed is performed by an all-inclusive theatre group. The production is fully signed and the signers are visible on both sides of the stage at the top of the steps which are incorporated into the scenery.
The principal storyline of Snow White is followed in this adaptation by Chickenshed. However, there is not a single iconic dwarf to be seen and instead of disappearing to the forest Cinderella escapes up to the highlands of Scotland where she ends up finding herself in a commune and befriends the magnificent seven.
Snow White, played by Cara McInanny, lives with her father Hector (Johnny Morton) who has remarried Jane de Villiers (Sarah Connolly) after the death of his wife. The roles have been reversed in this version and she has not married into money, he has. De Villiers holds the purse strings due to her fame as a successful model in her younger years, therefore, vanity and retaining her good looks are paramount to her superiority and helping to maintain her egotistical opinion of herself and image.
The piece has been adapted and bought up to date in this new work in a very clever and interesting social commentary on people’s vanity and how much some of them value retaining their good looks at any cost and like De Villiers they are influenced by the fashion and modelling industry.
The most endearing part to me of this entire production is the inclusion of anybody who wishes to act on the stage regardless of race, gender and disability where the company advertises that everyone is included and nobody is ever turned away.
At times the stage can appear overwhelming as during certain scenes it is absolutely full up by the entire cast. Everyone of them can be seen to be enjoying themselves throughout the performance
The Seven Dwarfs have been replaced by The Magnificent Seven who have already heard of Snow White’s stepmother and understand completely what she is capable of from years ago when they worked in London where she was modelling at the time. Knowing how ruthless she can be to ensure she has her own way they know how much danger Snow White is really in.
Ashley Driver, playing the very glamorous person in the mirror who is responsible for delivering the bad news to De Villiers that her stepdaughter isn’t actually dead, adds some Christmas glitz and charm to the part. He doubles up as the traditional pantomime dame with a modern twist.
The creative team behind the scenes is as extensive as the cast itself and I am sure without each and everyone of them this production would not have been as successful as it is. Everybody involved deserves to be proud of what they have achieved.
Set and costume designer William Fricker has created a very unusual stage setting and above the top of the stage in an arc formation with a mass of empty mirror frames to reflect the theme of “mirror, mirror on the wall…” the iconic line used in the classic fairy tale. His creative flair in the dresses worn by De Villers was absolutely stunning and complimented her beautiful long red hair a stunning pantomime “baddie “.
This production is definitely worth taking the time to go and visit the impressive but slightly off the beaten track venue. Snow White is showing from 27th November 2019 to 11th January 2020 and definitely brightens up the festive period. For more information and ticket sales please check out the link below.