Review: Snow White
The Tobacco Factory Theatre's imaginative and uplifting reworking of Snow White is the perfect antidote to the trad panto
The Tobacco Factory’s intimate and interactive theatre space sets the scene for Snow White‘s perfect alchemy of music, magic, myth and mirth, which will captivate the little ones but has enough winks at the adults and teens to keep them happy too.
Co-created with New International Encounter (Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel), Snow White captures the essence of the Grimm’s Brothers’ story, while playfully weaving in modern themes: what makes us happy, social responsibility and how to stay open-hearted in a world featuring Trump’s wall. Gone are the dwarfs, replaced with a hapless, but well-meaning bunch of Earthburghers (vegan of course), living off-grid in the woods.
Director Alex Byrne and his troupe of six actor/musicians create lots of belly laughs and the live music is a delight. But the standout performance is Stefanie Mueller’s (Nicole Moreaux in Killing Eve and Erna Richter in Homeland) hilarious and nuanced performance as the ‘wicked Queen’. Mueller shows us the perils of putting youth and beauty above everything else with her desperate, but comic attempts to do away with her innocent young rival, Snow White (Jodie Davie).
Best of all is when Mueller seeks affirmation from the magic mirror that she is the ‘fairest of them all’ – just like the millions today obsessed with getting most ‘likes’ on social media. In place of the screen is a mirror, and she moves through it to the ‘other side’ to confront the musical ensemble, who sing out the verdict to marvelously comic effect. Her extravagant victory dance as the unchallenged Mistress of the Universe has the audience in stitches – especially when we learn this madcap ritual happens every night.
You’ve guessed the rest. Snow White reaches womanhood, and the mirror says no. Bad things are done, but goodness prevails. And it’s only when a kindly Earthburgher finally takes the mirror away that Mueller’s addiction is broken and the road to redemption begins.
Snow White is on at the Tobacco Factory until Sun 19 Jan 2020.
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1TF. Tel 0117 902 0344. tobaccofactorytheatres.com
Words: Ann Dix. Photos: Mark Dawson