KYDS
SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS Directed by Jon Beales
Assisted by Hannah Beard
Choreography by Aimee Smith
Performed at the Thurstable School Tiptree

1st December 2012

Not your usual Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, the Pantomime written by Alan Frayn had all the main characters all there but we had some re named and the seven dwarfs were now Smiley Dozy Grumbly Blushful Snoozy & Sniffle and very good they all were with amusing characters to match the names. I thought all were good.

The story line was sort of the same as the traditional one but all the songs were modern and I certainly missed “High Ho High Ho’ ”from the dwarfs to name but one, and not all the songs gave the same feel as the tried and tested ones.

In this story line the King had died, so Snow White had an even harder time with no one to look out for her other than Chuckles. She really was just a servant working for her stepmother Queen Avarice, played so well by Rachel Shortland ,who had a great rapport going with the audience, and met many an ad lib from them with a quick and witty reply which was excellent. A very intelligent and effective part. I really enjoyed this performance.

Fairy Good Fortune played by Daisy Greenwood did really well. A good clear speaking voice and interpretation of the part with confidence.
Edna Bucket the Dame played by Jordon Murphy had a good feel for the part and was a very energetic Dame.

Sophie Stocker looked just right with all the attributes to make the perfect Snow White, and sung well in a sweet voice.

Abigail Morgan as Spirit of the Magic Mirror gave a funky feel to her dialogue which was fun, also Daniel Carr as Chuckles as usual gave a great performance and I hardly recognized Peter Greenwood as Prince Ferdinand who has risen through the various shows to quite an accomplished actor.

Leon Kennedy gave us a splendid Justice Quill and together with his assistant Scribbles played by Andrew Stocker were good foil for one another. Well done.

I would have liked rather more in the opening number which was all a bit of a jumble, and with such a large cast there needed to be real strong vocals to give the show a great opening. The singing generally was not strong and in some numbers the songs were quite difficult for the cast as they were set in very low range and were very difficult for young voices.

I am aware how hard you all work with KYDS, and it was encouraging to see some new members joining the group.

There are some strong performers in the group and ALL the cast need to up their performance to match these one or two who really know how to deliver and perform to an audience.

A good set, great Benny Hill style numbers rushing around the auditorium all adding to the fun that all the children in the audience loved.

A good choice for the group and it was so good to see such a large audience.

Keep up the good work and best wishes for your productions in 2013

Ann Platten

North Essex Theatre Guild Showcase Festival 2012-2013

KYDS Youth Drama Society

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs By
Alan P Frayn

Matinee performance 1st December

Introduction

It was the first time that I had ventured to Tiptree to see a KYDS production and the show I witnessed had a full house, I trust the other performances were the same.

I am a lover of Pantomime, as a child I went to see them in various theatres in Colchester.

Pantomime is probably the first type of stage show a child will see and hopefully it will spur them on to see other forms of performing art.

A Pantomime has all the elements of the performing arts, music, comedy, dancing, singing, slapstick, and of course acting, It needs to be fast moving, colourful, well presented, full of bad jokes and “in jokes” which sadly go over the head of foreigners like myself.

Snow White is a much loved German story collected in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. The Bavarian version contains the magic mirror, the poisoned apple and the seven dwarfs

Using an “up to date” script containing the “running gag” based around computer technology was great as it locked into a complete age range from “the Silver Surfers’” to the youngsters in the audience.

Front of House

This is a very important role in any theatre as this is the first person or persons the audience meets when entering the auditorium.
The FOH staff were smart and polite showing the audience to the unnumbered seats with the least amount of fuss.

The Programme was a delight entitled “Dame Edna’s Good Housekeeping Guide” complete with thumbnail sketches of some of the cast. I would have liked to have seen more of the principles featured and rehearsal photos.

Lots of useful tips on cooking and housekeeping for Dame Edna together with a full company list and other credits including the society’s sponsors and short history of the story.

I couldn’t help thinking this programme must have cost a fortune to produce

Set and Staging

The setting used a single painted backdrop of a castle with a winding road going up to it, which was very effective, however, it was the same for all outside scenes, and it would have been of advantage to have used some cut out trees for the forest scene, which could be painted to look a bit eerie.

I liked the Dwarfs cottage it brought to whole scene to the front of the stage and therefore the audience could concentrate on just that acting area.

Lighting and Sound

The lighting for the show was excellent, there were no shadows and the faces’ of all the actors were well lit. There was one problem however in that whenever the actors or actor came on stage at the beginning of the scene, in front of the black tabs, there was quite a long delay until the lights went up. I suspect that from the back of the auditorium, it was so dark on stage that the lighting operators couldn’t see the actor; this problem could have been reduced by using low level “tab warmers”.

The problem with using backing tapes and microphones is getting the balance between vocal and music right. In the first act the music was far too loud and we were unable to hear the words of the songs, the sound levels were altered in the second act and all was well.

Costumes

The costume plot is very important in pantomime, it denotes thee character, whether the character is a goody or baddy or tragic or comedy.

I liked the principles costumes, the Queen in black, Chuckles in a jesters costume, and Snow White dressed as the Disney portrayal.

I didn’t like the dame’s costume, this needed to be large and over the top, not a dress that was too short and bloomers on show. The actor looked very uncomfortable in it and had to keep adjusting the top part of the costume.

The dame should also have many changes of costume preferably one for each scene.

All of the principles only had one costume, except for the Queen when dressed as the Old Woman, with some characters this is fine but Snow White and the Prince must have a “posh” costume for the wedding/walk down.

The chorus were dressed mainly in black and white, which looked like school skirts and trousers with white shirts, the chorus needs to look bright and colourful.

Some on the girls just wore tights with tops; again this doesn’t look good on a lit stage.

Acting

Pantomime requires a very special type of acting in which the actors have to engage the audience right from the start of the show. A matinee audience is always the hardest to entertain as there are many very young children and indeed many mums and dads who don’t realise that is all part of the fun of pantomime to boo the villains and cheer the goodies.

Fairy Good Fortune

The Fairy had the unenviable job of opening the dialogue of Snow White. Daisy gave us clear diction in her prologue of the story so that we knew what to expect from the wicked Queen and the sweet Snow White.

Queen Avarice

The first baddie on stage, Rachel, got hold of the audience and told them, in so many words, “I am evil you boo me,” and she managed to carry the nastiness throughout her total performance. As the “Old Lady” there was still an evil glint in her body language that defines this character, it is quite easy to go over the top whilst playing the character, however Rachel kept total control. She was helped by the costumes to develop the thoroughly nasty evil queen.

This was a very powerful performance from this young actress.

Spirit of the Magic Mirror

Changed from the traditional male mirror to a stunning, female rap performer, Abigail gave us a full on incumbent of the mirror with a slight teenage attitude problem when dealing with the queen. She gave the part everything that it required. When the mirror was broken this very tall glamour’s Sprit of the Magic Mirror was revealed, and Abigail’s character changed from being a trapped sprit into a Sprit with a rather dry sense of humour.

Snow White

Not the normal wishy washy principle girl part that appears in so many pantomimes, Snow White is the centre piece of this drama, and therefore has to carry burden of the difference between good and evil. She also has the love interest with Prince Ferdinand together with the mother image for the Seven Dwarfs so a lot of different characters rolled into one, which Sophie rose to with great panache. Dressed in the traditional Disney costume we knew immediately what Snow White was like, and Sophie’s performance didn’t disappoint us.

Chuckles

Chuckles needs to have a immediate rapport with the audience, telling his dreadful jokes which Daniel achieved from the minute he stepped on to the stage and he kept up the pace and vigour of Chuckles throughout the show.

Daniel in particular kept the pace of the show going

This was a very strong, well timed, controlled, performance.

Dame Edna

After reading her “good Housekeeping Guide” I wondered whether a young man would be able to live up to this publication.
Playing “Dame” is probably the most difficult of all the pantomime parts, and having played the dame myself on many occasions, I know this to be true. However, it does give the actor the chance to use all his acting and comedy talent, for when the dame is on stage she takes complete command of it.

I wasn’t sure that a young person would be able to do this convincingly, however Jordon gave us his all right from the very first entrance to the end of the production.

I was delighted that he didn’t try to use a falsetto voice as the part of the dame must obviously be a man playing a woman.

He had the confidence to deal with the audience, which as I have already stated were difficulty to start with, and to deal with the not too flattering costume.

Well done Jordan!

Prince Ferdinand

The writing of the part of the Prince was rather like the writing of most “principle girl” parts in other pantomimes, rather limp, and in the back ground” however Peter made the most of his role and gave us a very likable Prince that Snow White would have fallen in love with.

Slurp

I loved this little character, dressed as a plumber together with the tools of his trade including a sink plunger, sporting a limp, which he changed from one leg to another on instruction of the queen. This could well have been the running gag of the show in that every time Slurp appeared he changed the leg he limped with, comic opportunities missed for both Slurp and the Queen.

Matthew gave us the henchman with a soft heart, and the audience felt really sorry for this loveable little character.

Judge Quill and Scribbles

I have put these two characters together because they worked because Leon and Andrew created a brilliant comedy team, reminding me of the American comedy act of the 40s and 50s Abbott and Costello. (Would someone of the appropriate age please explain to Leon and Andrew?)

Judge Quill playing the straight man, feeding the comic lines to Scribbles and Scribbles giving just a slight pause before answering, one particular line was the “no I

always walk this way” joke which was delivered to perfection.

The script helped as it was full of up to date references regarding computer technology which the Judge and Scribbles made the most of.

These two actors worked together very well indeed!

The Dwarfs

The team of actors playing the Seven Dwarfs worked well together, each of the Dwarfs gave their part its own individual character, each one was well thought out and all added to the

It’s very difficult to get the patter just right when the actors only have one line at a time but the actors playing the Dwarfs succeeded in achieving the quick fire routine that was required. Brainy and Dozy’s slap stick routine was a gem

Direction

The pace of the show in pantomime is vey important and Jon and his assistant Hannah achieved this. All the characters kept the correct pace going throughout the production

The dancing was kept fairly simple but was very effective. I particularly enjoyed the animals dance in the forest with the music of Dance Macabre

The scene in the Dwarfs House, It would have been better to have had Snow White sitting up stage of the dinning table with the dwarfs surrounding her, rather than down stage left, as she had to speak to the Dwarfs with her back to the audience which meant we lost some of her dialogue.

The community song is normally used to cover the actors changing for the wedding / walk down at the end of the show, however as there wasn’t any costume change that I noticed, the song went on far too long and the audience got rather bored with it.

After a hesitant start, by the audience, not the actors, the audience thoroughly enjoyed “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and so did I.

Michael Poole
Adjudicator