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The story of Snow White and the Many Dwarfs is based on the traditional 1912 Brothers Grimm fairytale of a girl with skin as white as snow, a magic mirror, a poison apple, an evil queen and dwarfs. But in this case, the premiere adaptation of Snow White and the Many Dwarfs by Hills Youth Theatre (HYT) capitalises on the opportunity to mash-up tradition with pop culture references.
Showcasing the unseen talents of a burgeoning theatre community, this production was entirely written, directed, choreographed, produced, constructed, stage managed and costumed by members of HYT. Written by Peter and Jean Collins, the pantomime genre is well kept with direction from Peter Collins, assisted by Di Mason and Sonja Zodrow and choreography by Jessica Corrie. Full kudos are due to the entire team for the execution of this production, even including original music to top it all off by Sonja Zodrow and Jon McKay.
Hills Youth Theatre - Snow White and the Many Dwarfs
Zoe Muller is a radiant Snow White, epitomising the good-hearted, wide-eyed maiden of yore. Her portrayal is terrific in voice and song as the centrepiece of the story. The humour is well-timed with Snow White's unfortunate and unrequited courter, Cedric, played by Connor Leinweber, who offers entertaining comic relief. Amping up the comedy, Ben Proeve totally hams it up in all the right ways as Snow White's nurse, Polly Pumpkin, a classic pantomime dame, including a seductive, booty shaking rendition of Shania Twain's 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman' and high fives all round on her cavorting tour of the auditorium.
A piercing maniacal laugh was the trademark of Michelle Stewart for her conniving performance as the evil Queen Grevillea who was appropriately booed by the audience at every opportunity, with Matilda Butler as her misled conspirator and Goblin, Goofy Gertie. Riordan Miller-Frost takes the magic mirror to a new level with hips like Elvis and swagger that would make Bieber jealous, grooving through side-splitting sparkles and rhyme in stark contrast to the villains. Yolanda Tree brings sincerity to the story as the narrator and Snow White's pseudo-Fairy Godmother, with Jean Collins as Prince Wallace, of upstanding moral clarity, Pythonesque hilarity and a genuine Maddy Thorne as the stern Huntsman.
The many dwarfs are a delight with performances by Luka Bolte, Jack Grosser, Louise Guy, Georgie Eyres, Lottie Mumford, Hariette Wolff, Lucia Lease, Toby Vincent, Hugh Bellette-Jay, Francis Healy, Ryan Cream and Sam Reissenweber. Each brings their strength within the balanced and highly entertaining group, complete with audience sing-a-long, slapstick humour and a classic pie-in-face caper.
The set and costumes of Snow White and the Many Dwarfs are wonderfully complementary with an effective balance of simplicity and agility. Striking painted brick and rolling hills leave room for some clever costuming and movement of trees, flowers, mushrooms, flowers and woodland animals that create a pleasing tableau of scenes and moods. Beautifully melding genres, the queen's throne room pits a beehive haired, geisha-faced, hoop-skirted company against stunning suits and gowns of the principles and sheer colours.
The vocal and appreciative audience of the performance were a testament to the musical comedy, interaction and quality of this pantomime. Complete with plenty of 'look-behind-you', 'oh-yes-you-are' moments and sing-a-long songs, Snow White and The Many Dwarfs ticks all the boxes of what you expect from an entertaining day out. HYT have delivered a highly entertaining production and opportunity for a huge group of up-and-coming local talent.