Friday, 21 December 2018
REVIEW: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - The Civic Centre, Heywood, Greater Manchester.
Opening night. Enter into Heywood Civic Centre - another venue at which I have made my debut in the audience. The show? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The ‘stars’? Hollyoaks and Doctors’ Ali Bastian (who was also on Strictly) and (not present physically) Steven Arnold who you will remember as on-screen nephew of Coronation Street’s butcher Fred Elliott, Ashley Peacock. The company behind it? Trio Entertainment. The story? Different.
Different as in, instead of meeting the villain and usually a fairy, we were met with Prince Lorenzo (Sam Emmerson) singing n Elvis-esque rendition of ‘I’m A Believer’ (which, along with some of the show’s gags, also featured in the pantomime down the road in Middleton), as if it were matching the one in the film Shrek. Although it had a lot of energy and support from the dancers, this then became a duet with Snow White (director and choreographer Bessie McMillan) and oddly they already knew one another from a previous acquaintance. The aforementioned ‘celebrities’ play Evil Queen Cruella (original) and The Man In The Mirror, respectively, with the latter appearing on a screen wheeled on by the character who had just exited before the cue. This, and the sight-lines at the left of the stage, were a bit odd albeit a technicality.
Enter Nurse Nelly (Mike Smith) to the Donna Summer tune ‘Hot Stuff’. His timing was very good, specially for the sit that held the show up - even if dressed up, literally, like a Christmas tree. In contrast to the ‘settling in’ of Muddles (Jordan Kennedy) whose entrance felt a bit like an audition, due to the lack of engagement from and with the audience. This got better when a younger member of the audience ad-libbed, in order for him to react and gain their trust. Evil Queen Cruella entered rather robotically, sporting a Raven-like outfit with her legs fully on show, although her acting was fine. Her costume for the remainder of the show was much better and suited the more traditional and usual that you would see for the character of a family show.
The song choices were upbeat, including a random routine of Elton John and Kiki Dee’s ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ which featured the prince, Snow White and Muddles executing a very clever comedic display involving a wall. Other songs were Walk The Moon’s ‘Shut Up And Dance With Me’, Lady Gaga’s ‘Edge of Glory’, Jess Glynn’s ‘Hold My Hand’, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle On The Hill’ (which was also randomly placed), Queen’s ‘A Kind of Magic’ and Little Mix’s ‘Black Magic’ (sing spoke by Evil Queen which was reasonably bearable). The finale was ‘Come Alive’ from The Greatest Showman. There was also a song about chasing the clouds away and whistling a whistling song which, as expected, included the presence of the seven dwarfs (made up of Sophie Brierley, Mia Manning, Martha Wilberforce, Charlotte Crook, Emily Salisbury, Riley Welsby Dickson and Alex Schofield) who were very good.
Overall the show was good but lacked a lot, technically, as well as in direction and in characterisation - the leading lady has the smallest part(!). Nonetheless for a local show it was pleasant and well-attended and I hope that is the case throughout the remainder of its run until 28th December. Well done to the dancers of the Anita Tymcyshyn School of Dancing, the production team and the venue for their efforts and clear hard work.
Reviewer - John Kristof
on - 19/12/18