Written and directed by Peter Collins
12th January 1918
Reviewed by: Trish Francis
Having grown up in England, I enjoyed immensely the annual tradition of Pantomime, a somewhat frivolous style of musical comedy, with audience participation, slapstick humour, gender crossing actors, comedic dance and endless corny jokes; loosely based around a well-known fairy tale. Although not as common in Adelaide, there are some companies which follow this tradition and Hills Youth have done so since 1992.
This year Peter Collins took the helm as Director and script writer for their latest offering of Snow White and the Many Dwarfs, and, supported by an endless list of committee and parent helpers, he has done a fine job.
There is a large cast of young performers of varying age and experience taking on the traditional roles of Wicked Queen, Snow White, Prince and dwarfs as well as their many faithful friends, with wonderfully descriptive names such as Fairy Fruitcake, the good fairy; Grotty Girty, the evil goblin and Quiver and Quill, the huntsmen in training!
It is always difficult to single out individuals in such a large and enthusiastic cast but some leading characters can’t go without mention. In the gender swapped role of Snow White’s Nurse, Polly Pumpkin, Ben Proeve was an audience favourite on opening night. He was particularly effective at encouraging the calling out that forms a large part of the audience participation, and demonstrated great comic timing. Connor Leinweber showed similar skill in breaking the fourth wall in the role of Cedric, the Queen’s Footman. The ‘Elvis-esque’ Magic Mirror, played by Riordan Miller- Frost, was also very entertaining.
Zoe Muller played the heroine Snow White with the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability. Matilda Butler provided a polished performance as Grotty Girty. In smaller roles Francis Healy and Toby Vincent had great stage presence as dwarfs Grouchy and Sneaky respectively. They had excellent vocal projection and clear diction, a good example for the many young actors to follow.
Vocals are not a focus of the performance and where there is singing, it is often singing along to vocals on the backing tracks, but given the farcical style of most of the songs this worked perfectly well. Collins has added some really clever interludes and I especially enjoyed the dancing skeletons.
Costumes are first-rate; I love the framed ball dresses in the Throne Room scene. Lighting is also effective and although there were a few issues with balance of sound between performers on opening night, I am sure this will improve as the season progresses.
Grab the kids and the grandparents and have a fun night out while supporting this fabulous example of community theatre.