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ORT Report - BYT: Snow White

There is a special something about pantomimes that keep audiences wanting more and more. From the moment the curtain rises, us audience members love to be immersed in that familiar comfort that is pantomime, from the typical ‘he’s behind you!’ to traditional Pantomime dames. Birmingham youth theatre's production of Snow White brings you all that and more in this brand new adaptation of this thrilling fairy tale.

Based on the classic fairytale, Snow White follows the story of a young girl whose mother, the Evil Queen, is jealous of her beauty. Unable to stand being seen as less than ‘the fairest of them all’ the Evil Queen orders the murder of her innocent stepdaughter, but later discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven dwarfs. Disguising herself as a hag, the queen brings a poisoned apple to Snow White who is tempted to take a bite. She then falls into a death-like sleep until she is later woken and decides it's time to stand up to the Queen.

With a very imaginative opening using beautiful silhouettes, the pantomime beginning is very strong, which only gets stronger as the characters come to life. Something really has to be said to the people who cast the show as they truly did an amazing job, each actor has completely inhabited their characters making this an ideal first pantomime for children to experience. The young girl who took on the role of Snow White was a naturally gifted performer who captivated the audience from her first beautifully sung solo. She is a very talented singer who remained incredibly strong without. BYT managed to capture the traditional nostalgic feel of Snow White, but with new, uniquely selected songs.

The show continues the atmosphere just carries on improving as those initial nerves get shaken off, and Muddles’ first number is the first of the many songs that has been excellently re-written to suit the storyline. This song captured the feelings of the true love he felt towards Snow White, the kind of love you only find in fairytales. It is sung with great passion that really captures the audience's hearts which just continues to grow throughout the show, with one of my personal favourite songs including both Muddles and Prince John whose first number really charmed the audience. This song can be found at the start of act two where both of these characters do a wonderful job of getting the whole audience laughing and bopping along. This hilarious number is a real classic, including the pantomime dames, it is hard to keep a straight face as both characters do their very hardest to outshine the other. It's really not a number you want to miss and this was only the start of this talented cast. Fleshcreep, who appeals to the whole family, radiates energy and humour throughout the show, interacting with the whole audience (children and adults) from start to finish.

The use of the programme TV theme tunes to cover the scene changes was a really interesting choice which I feel worked really well to give an insight into the next scene without giving too much away. I especially thought it worked well for the kitchen scene where there was a lovely Chuckle Brothers/Dumb and Dumber moment which really engaged the audience and made them chuckle. The use of real ingredients on stage really helped bring this scene to life and add that true element of comedy. A particularly funny moment was where the young boy dropped the bread on the floor and asked the audience to remain silent about it, to which of course they didn't. His hilarious reaction to this was a real highlight.

Some more promising performers include the young girl who played the role of Sally and the soloists who sang in a few numbers. Sally’s vocals really held throughout the whole of her number and was accompanied by an array of lively choreography. The soloists really held their own in their numbers with the boy standing out as a particularly strong singer. However, stealing the show has to be the little Dwarf Gok, his overall professionalism and adorable solo numbers had the entire audience at his fingertips, for such a young performer, he blew everyone away. Him and the other young children all did an amazing job keeping up with the complex steps of the choreography and musical numbers by really giving it their all throughout.

Article by BOA Student Jess, as part of our ORT Report scheme.