THE DRUM – THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH – 26 January 2019
SNOW WHITE AND THE HAPPY EVER AFTER BEAUTY SALON
RUNNING TIME 80 MINUTES – No interval
Theatre Royal Plymouth Box Office – 01752 267222
REVIEW – CORMAC RICHARDS – 22 JANUARY 2018
If I have a more wonderfully entertaining 80 minutes of theatre in 2019 than I did watching the wonderfully titled ‘Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon’, then I will be thrilled and surprised.
This clever re-telling of the Snow White story, set largely in a 1950s style beauty parlour is presented with style and panache by The Wrong Crowd, the resident company of the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and the well regarded Ovalhouse Theatre in South London.
We have a lovely period feel with the simple but effective set which includes a stage for a band – the members of which are kitted out in appropriate 1950s musicians garb. Singing kicks the show off and the musical numbers punctuate the action which is almost completely underscored with clever melodies and sounds.
The musicians soon become the actors too, mostly with a variety of hats. All the performers attack the excellent material with a verve and enthusiasm which is instantaneously infectious – I didn’t wipe the smile off my face until well after I had left the theatre.
Kuran Dohil is a feisty and fun Snow White with a huge sense of fun – and a lovely singing voice to boot. As the wicked aunt, Trish, who owns the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon, Anne Odeke, has the full range of facial, body and vocal expressions and she makes the most of them. She has great presence and creates a fairly monstrous character, I just found that sometimes her words were masked by the voice she used, some of the harder hearing and younger audience members would have missed lines. Frederico, the down-trotted and kind-hearted salon assistant, was beautifully and endearingly performed by Edward Hole – perfectly pitched. Eloise Secker was allowed to show great versatility with four parts, but she peaked with her portrayal of the Mirror – ‘Allo Babes’ is her greeting for Trish – it’s sublime – I loved her! Matthew Cavendish also gets to play a number of roles – a dim and slightly camp Prince Charming, a short-lived King, a sassy Big Bad Wolf and one of the heroes of the piece, Kenneth the Mole! How many theatre scripts contain a character called Kenneth the Mole? In fact there are multiple moles – lovely puppets, well manipulated by the whole cast – they are like the substitute for the usual dwarfs and are warm-hearted and fun.
During the whole show Sophie Byrne accompanies the action on keyboards – effectively and discreetly – except for a quick foray into the action as a puppeteer.
There is so much to admire here – the slick hair transformations of some of the fairy tale characters; the thoughtful use of appropriate props, the sense of fun and enjoyment. The obsession with beauty at all costs forms the moral to the story which is gently suggested so all can understand.
This is a show aimed at everyone and it really does reach everyone. The Drum was packed with a very wide audience profile and no one took their eyes from the action. It is very funny on many levels and when Trish finally manages to utter the word ‘Sorry’ to Snow White at the conclusion there was an involuntary outburst of applause.
Writer, Mike Akers has created a little gem of a piece which has been backed up by the whole production team, from producer Bonnie Mitchell to Composer Tayo Akinbode and Designer Rachael Canning. Hannah Mulder directs with flair, consideration and love.
This is perfect theatre. Charming, endearing and unremittingly entertaining. I adored it.
Anne Odeke – Trish/Butcher
Edward Hole – Federico
Eloise Secker – Mirror/Queen/Pig/Goldilocks
Kuran Dohil – Snow White
Matthew Cavendish – King/Ken/Charming/Big Bad
Sophie Byrne – Band Leader
Writer – Mike Akers
Director – Hannah Mulder
Designer & Puppet Director – Rachael Canning
Producer – Bonnie Mitchell
Composer – Tayo Akinbode
Sound Design – Theo Holloway
Lighting Design – Sally Ferguson
Choreographer – Diane Alison-Mitchell