Somerset Fellowship of Drama Cinderella Trophy Competition
Snow White presented by CUDOS
Saturday Matinee 27th January 2018
What do you do on a wet Saturday afternoon in January? Go and see a pantomime and that’s what I did.
Arriving a little early I was sheltering by the doors which eventually opened and I was greeted warmly by Wendy Elliott who recognised me immediately even though it had been many years since I performed at Crewkerne in the musical Charlie Girl. I was then greeted by Ann Brolly another face from that show who showed my wife and I to our seats. At last the first society to be playing back ground music when I entered the auditorium. A nice touch which I wish more societies would embrace. Three rows of little girls in front of me promised that this could be quite a lively audience.
This was an original script by Ann Brolly. Full of comedy, music and all the essential ingredients for a family panto.
This was a good interpretation of the script. Full use was made of the stage and varied entrances from the wings. Although Snow White is a well-known story this production had a few surprises too!
The prologue by the Queen led into a rousing opening number ‘Best day of our life’ celebrating the birth of Snow White. The curtains going back on a chorus resplendent in shades of purple singing well and moving in time. Smiles on the faces of most on stage, just a few perhaps concentrating on their moves a little too much, made the audience smile too.
I wasn’t aware of any prompts and the cue bite was sound and lines delivered in a clear and confident manner. And both chorus and junior chorus moved well together with principals giving this a well-rehearsed performance.
Casting a show like Snow White can be difficult as most audiences have a pre conceived vision of what the characters should look like thanks to the film by Walt Disney. However you were not going to be swayed by this. No Dwarfs for Crewkerne, here instead we had ‘ologists’, seven diversely different characters. Including a ‘tec’nologist a ‘detective’ a ‘Card’iologist performing card tricks and a very camp ‘campanologist’, a bell ringer.
Lighting was imaginative and the UV scene was original and lead to the revealing of the doorway to the ologists’ cottage. Follow spots were also used well. Sound effects worked well and on time and the music used in the plank scene added to the sequence.
The house number performed by Dame and comedy duo had every one on their feet and was an original using singing in the rain as the main part. I was beginning to think it would never end but eventually it did, with much applause.
Directing any pantomime is a great responsibility and comes with some difficulties but you directed this very well with original lyrics in some songs that were very imaginative. I loved the rewrite of I’ve got a little list and the very original Sue, Pam, Callum, Fran, Jill, Izzie, Rupert Aloysius. Brilliant.
Well done Ann this was a very original and imaginative production I loved it.
The sets were all society made and scene changes between the castle, forest and ologists house were quiet and handled with efficiency. The Queens chamber worked well with the magic mirror and this was cleverly worked. Props were handled well and added to the overall picture.
The choice of music is an important addition to any pantomime and the choices here were just the right blend. The live band played well and accompanied the soloists and chorus singing. I thought there might have been a few too many songs when I saw the list in the programme but they were kept reasonably short and sweet. Well done Lucy and band.
The choreography was kept simple and suited the capabilities of your cast. A few dancers performed well in the UV scene and in other solo spots. I liked that the Dame didn’t go straight into dance numbers but made out she was copying other members before actually joining. Too often I see principals in dance routines being in step perfectly but at the same time dropping the characterisations. This was not the case in this show. All members of the chorus moved well as did the principals.
Costumes & Makeup
You have a talented costume department whose efforts looked very good on stage. The different colours of chorus costumes changing from shades of purple, green, blue, red and changing back to purple was imaginative and simply done with addition of the different colour over dresses for the female chorus and hats and sashes for the male very effective. Dame’s costumes were plentiful and it was good to see changes on most entrances with a good choice of wigs and headdresses. The wicked queen’s costumes were also imaginative by simply adding different colour panels on the dress and sleeves together with different coloured collars. Also it was refreshing to see you hadn’t gone with the Disney costume for snow white.
Makeup was well applied and the dame’s sparkly eye shadow was very effective.
There is little romance in Snow White but the waking scene was well played. Snow White awoke fairly slowly to the kiss from Prince Victor the Valliant. Falling in love at first sight.
The wicked stepmother is the villain in this pantomime and this was well played in her scenes with the magic mirror on the wall. She worked the audience getting boos and hisses from the audience on all entrances and exits as she sauntered on and off.
Comedy is one of the main basics of Pantomime and this show was full of it. The comedy duo worked very well together and their decorating scene was well rehearsed and worked to perfection. I remembered doing a similar scene many years ago in Beauty and the Beast. The kitchen scene reminiscent of Morcambe & Wise was another highlight. The Dame also had some very funny moments and worked well with Mutt & Jeff. The comedy was not only left to these. The Kings deafness caused a few titters and the mirror had his moments too as well as the ologists with explanations of their ology’s.
Comical lyrics in the songs also added to the overall comedic presence in this show.
Young Snow White (Callie-Rose Guppy) A delightful portrayal of the young Snow White celebrating her 7th birthday
Queen Belinda the Beautiful (Fiona Edgington) Nicely played opening with the dotty King showing kindness and toleration. Contrasting with the bossiness of Queen Wanda. Your short appearance was none the less notable and set the scene.
King Wilfred The Wistful (Robert Judge) A confident performance of the deaf old king who ends up being bullied by Queen Wanda. Never being allowed to do his own thing. Good diction and clear dialogue
Snow White (Sian Flint) Another confident portrayal the audience instantly warmed to. Clear dialogue and a lovely singing voice, Over the Rainbow was delightful. Your rapport with the Dame and other principals worked very well and your scenes with The Prince was also enjoyable.
Nurse Nora (Ray Norris) I liked your Dame. You instantly gelled with the audience and your asides were great. I particularly liked it when you said there was another 4 hours to sit through and then shook your head but then counteracted that again. Good work. You wore your costumes well. It was good to see so many great wigs and headdresses as these must have helped you capture this character. You sang well at all times. ‘A your adorable showed ‘you could move too as in other musical numbers but not once losing your character. An excellent performance.
Queen Wanda the Wicked (Sarah Elliott) What a deliciously evil queen you make. Your bearing was good as you came on and off the stage and your control of the king was well done. You have a very good singing voice. I liked the Mad Bad and Beautiful number and how brave to sing Simply the Best and allowing to be upstaged by the mirror! This shows a true performer who can hold her own on the stage. You worked the audience with your sneering and were rewarded with boos and hisses. Another very good and solid performance.
Magical Mirror (Danny Brand) You held your character well throughout the performance. Your bored and utter contempt for the queen came across well. This was contrasted well when you put the headphones on and had a cuppa while the queen sang a nice cameo role. Well done.
Hilda (Kerry Peters) Another comedy role which worked so well having come to clean your brasses. you were drawn into the local panto and played along popping up to sweep, clean and help in other scenes like the polygraph.
Very good diction and characterisation.
Mutt & Jeff (William Scott-Robinson & Diana Hodgson) Well done, you both worked really well together and your timing in the decorating scene showed off the comics in you. Your dialogue with each other was confident and diction very clear even with the accents which added to your characterisations. You both sang well and kept in step with your movement, even in the audience participation ‘arms out elbows in’ etc. Very enjoyable performances.
Prince Victor the Valliant (Jas Cook) It’s not easy coming into a show so far into the run but your thigh slapping character arrived in the nick of time to save Snow White. You looked the part of a principal boy and sang well. Clear dialogue and confidence in your portrayal made this a pleasant performance.
The Ologists (Millie, Lottie, Christian, Leonie, Jessica, Hattie and George) Some really nice characters here and you sang your theme song well as difficult as it must have been. You all delivered your lines confidently and clearly. I liked the community huddle to discuss things and agreed by all. Again not easy to arrive half way through the show but well worth the wait. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Company A great contribution to this fast running pantomime. You all look like you were really enjoying being on the stage. Strong singing and good movement added to the overall look of this pantomime and you all wore your costumes well including the male chorus and those great artists style hats.
It may have been raining outside but the sun certainly shone inside. This was one of the funniest pantos I have seen this season with so much original content but at the same time keeping to the story. At one stage I thought the three rows of girls in front of me would maybe drop off but they didn’t want to miss a thing.
Thank you for brightening my day and inviting me to your show.
Somerset Fellowship of Drama