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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

SNOW WHITE (article first published : 2006-11-1)

Along with a number of other people in the entertainment industry, I have been concerned about the way the local adult pantomime shows have been going over the past two years. The last two productions desperately needed a firm hand to keep the whacky humour and action under control.

This year’s adult pantomime from Sue Clarence Promotions is Snow White which has just opened at the Catalina Theatre to run over the festive season. Sitting in the director’s chair for the first time is Karen Campbell-Gillies and, judging by what I saw this evening, she has moulded and controlled a fairly volatile and highly irrepressible group of performers into a cohesive and tidy (well … relatively speaking!) whole to put adult pantomime back on track.

This is no mean feat, considering she plays the part of the ditsy airhead Snow White - not the brightest pencil in the box – who offers a good heaving bosom and is good at crying scenes. For good measure, Karen belts out a good number of songs along the way.

Long-term adult panto favourite Anthony Stonier is Queen Acerbia whose ultra-slim frame belies a strong voice and an acerbic wit well-suited for the songs chosen. Whenever Queen Acerbia is mentioned, we hear a horse’s wild whinny. Don’t try to analyse it - it’s part of the fun!

As Fairy Nuff in a series of outrageous costumes with droopy boobs, Peter Court proves that he can still crack it as a “hoofer” (a term originally given to dancers appearing in a Broadway musical and now accepted as someone who can handle a good musical theatre dance sequence)!

Clad in a blond curly wig, Rowan Bartlett is endearing and very amusing as Michael, the Huntsman. His devouring of an apple was little short of masterful!

Good to see Damon Thomas and his crisp mellifluous tones back in town – long may he stay – in the role of The Handsome Prince. Last appearing on the local scene about ten years ago, he handles this role suitably tongue-in-cheek with elegant diction and an engaging bemusement as the handsome prince. The one Queen Acerbia is dying to get her hands on!

Snow White is written by Anthony Stonier, Karen Campbell-Gillies and Peter Court and, as is to be expected, there are the usual heavy sexual innuendos – this IS adult pantomime, remember! – and scripted “corpsing”. There’s knockabout comedy a-plenty, all well enacted along with much amusing allusion to the Kingdom of ‘Toti (Amanzimtoti). This evening there were irritating sound problems with microphone “popping” but hopefully these will be attended to.

Greg King’s white and silver set design incorporates a number of attractive white painted net drapes as well as the Queen’s little mirror nook and the Dwarves’ home. Designed by Karen Campbell-Gillies, the costumes are delicious and Annarosa’s Dress-Up Shops have been responsible for the sparkling - and ever-diminutive costumes - worn by Anthony Stonier. Even the microphones have costume changes! Sound tracks are by Tim Pullen and Evan Roberts.

The end result is a highly entertaining and very visual production. Snow White runs at the Catalina Theatre for a lengthy festive season from now until December 31. Bookings through Thandeka on 031 305 6889 or on 082 553 5903. Tickets now online at www.strictlytickets.co.za Block bookings or Christmas party specials with dining and cruise options available through Debbie on 083 447 5221 or reynolds@durbs.com – Caroline Smart




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