‘Diverse, accessible & fun’: Snow White & the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon – Ovalhouse

In Children's theatre, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Ovalhouse, London 30 December 2018

I’d never considered hair salons to be the domain of estranged, murderous sisters, but this contemporary, actor-muso update of Snow White shows a darker underbelly of this normally jolly place. At the Happy Ever After salon, Trish has built a beauty empire that she rules with an iron fist, toxic pomades and razor-sharp scissors. Punctuated by original vintage-style tunes, puppetry and engaging performances, this show is a sophisticated pantomime that’s diverse, accessible and fun.

Social class, privilege and obsession with appearance underpin this easily recognised, female-led story of good and evil. Koran Dohil is a pure and sweet Snow who sees the good in everyone despite having to leave her life-long home in the palace. She is well-contrasted by Anne Odeke as her auntie Trish, an initially subtle villain who takes the runaway Snow into her home after her father dies and her mother casts her out. These two confidently lead an ensemble of six who multi-role, sing, dance and play instruments. Rounded out by similarly 1950s set and costume with a touch of cabaret aesthetic, this is a slick show.

Mike Akers’ script shows care and time given to its development, unlike many of the more cookie cutter pantos out there. The characters have more depth than can be expected in pantomime, though the dramatic climax is rushed. There’s a heartwarming ending that ties up any loose ends, but the subplot involving Snow running away after Trish tries to have her killed isn’t given enough time – particularly as it involves some delightful mole puppets who give Snow a new home.

The chatty kids in the audience are engaged throughout, and the grownups are, too. It’s no surprise – this is a great take on a classic Christmas show and despite a few narrative shortcomings, it charms, entertains and gently addresses some of the ills in our world today.

Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
Read more...

Tags: , , , , ,

Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.

Leave a Comment