Tobacco Factory Theatres: Snow White
Thomas Paynter, Year 1 student at The SPACE
Saturday, February 1, 2020
A joyous adaption injected with subtle twists that intrigue the audience
New International Encounter's Snow White is an effervescent and joyous interpretation, with slight twists that only further the intrigue. The award-winning theatre company creates pieces that are innovative and blend storytelling with physical theatre and live music to produce theatre that appeals to all ages.
This was performed by an immensely talented cast who alternate between a range of instruments, simultaneously playing the quirky characters. The seamless delivery is a credit both to the cast and technical team. The stage transitions from a forest to Snow White's Stepmother's bedroom within seconds. It's a simplistic change theoretically; a long rug is swiftly unrolled, a chandelier is lowered simultaneously, and a mirror is enthusiastically wheeled onto stage, yet is transformative of the whole space. It is moments like this throughout the show that are creatively inspiring, particularly for students devising projects such as a theatre in education tour around primary schools, with the need for basic set and props.
Snow White is carried by a cast of only six. The seven dwarves are replaced with just four ‘Earth Burgers’ who reside in the forest. Throughout the second act the Earth Burgers carry out a roll call in anticipation that there are seven of them, refusing to believe they are lacking in numbers and endearingly and comically miscounting to create the supposed seven.
The use of live instruments brought the whole production to life, creating an infectious fun dynamic that resonates with people of all ages. The variety of instruments is awe inspiring: led under the musical direction of the charismatic Joey Hickman, who is also among the cast, the music adds to the cohesion of the show.
Thematically this retelling touches upon veganism, expectations of beauty and even briefly dabbles in some political issues referenced in the form of witty one liners.
Snow White achieves a balance that is no mean feat: neither pantomime nor musical theatre. This somewhat innovative approach to the production is particularly refreshing and appeals to young and old. The audience participation and breaking of the fourth wall is all marvellously executed and, performed in the Tobacco Factory Theatre, the audience becomes immersed within the narrative and the magic happens, leaving you with a memorable and heart-warming experience at the theatre.