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Snow White and the 7 Drawfs - Rose Bowl Review

Bath Unity Players, Kingswood School, Bath. December 2014

 

 

NAME OF COMPANY          Bath Unity Players                                                                 

NAME OF PRODUCTION    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs                          

VENUE                                  Kingswood School Theatre   

DATE                                     Thursday 18th December 2014

ADJUDICATOR                     Barbara Smith                                    

 

  

PRESENTATION

 

 

SET including STAGE FURNITURE and PROPS

 

I was most impressed with the innovative use of digitalised images throughout this Pantomime which helped to set both location and atmosphere – they were perfect except that it was unfortunate the cyc/backcloth could not have been a more solid construction as it did tend to ‘waver’ a bit at times – but this did not distract from the overall success.  I appreciated the Pre-set with Title on Gauze and the moving images of Dwarfs cleaning their Cottage.  The flash of lightning which was projected every time Queen Caligula appeared,  the projections showing scene locations, Black Wing flying, Trees with moving eyes, and Butterflies flittering around the sleeping Snow White, all giving the audience super background imagery.  The painted side Flats again showing scene change, good Balustrade in Act 2, and all Props excellent – Lanterns and Pickaxes for the Dwarfs, a small table in their cottage, fine Throne with steps leading to it, and effective Speaking Mirror.  The stage furniture was minimal and allowed for maximum acting and dance space.

 

This was a well thought through and imaginative Set design which overcame a lot of scene changing difficulties – and made life easier for Stage Management.

 

STAGE MANAGEMENT

 

Very efficient stage management and the Set design was a great help.  The use of the Gauze and Tabs was swift and apart from a slight backstage noise with the Walk Down Set change all was silent.  There must have been very good management and discipline backstage to organise and effect all the costume changes and the many performers involved.  All sound and Lighting cues appeared well prompted.

Very effective and well organised input.

 

LIGHTING

 

The lighting design was again good with fine use of the dimming and then brighter lighting according to the atmosphere and the location.  I liked the use of the Magenta/red colour on Queen Caligula which also highlighted her excellent costume, and the use of warm lighting for the songs.  Dimmer lighting for the nasty Black Wing, and fine white spots for the Fairies, the Woodland scenes were given a good atmosphere with use of Greens and Blues and when Queen Caligula was plotting there was good atmospheric use of Reds.  Good use of dimming and brightening for the slow motion ‘Chariots of Fire’ piece, and later Reds on the Queen as she is going to kill Snow White.  Fine changing LED’s Red/Green/Blue for the Tap routine. 

Lighting changes well prompted and effected making another fine technical input.

 

SOUND 

 

Another very good technical input with both the Live and Recorded sound effects, and including a fine tinkling bell sound for the Fairies’ entrance and thunder for Queen Caligula.  They were all well cued and timed and at good levels.  The use of recorded music worked well for dance numbers and some song backings, and the balance of the personal mics was also good.

A solid and reliable input.

 

 COSTUME & MAKE-UP

 

I was full of admiration for the excellent costuming and make-ups that the Company had put into this production.  Costumes were well fitting and the traditional outfits ranging from Medieval influence to Character outfits for the Villagers, were very effective and well co-ordinated.  The Dame had many changes of outfits and wigs and again in fine traditional style and the Make-up was excellent.  The Dwarfs looked superb with hair around their faces, tunics and Snow White’s change of costume to the traditional Disney dress when in the forest, and the Prince was in fine traditional style.  Bogwort and Stinkwort as the two Henchmen were again appropriately dressed in identical tunics and trousers, and Blackwing in Medieval style and with another excellent Make-up.  Both Fairies were well characterised as a ‘Learner’ and Professor.  The Walk Down costumes were well co-ordinated and made an effective statement at the ending of the Pantomime.

  

I have to comment on the super dance costumes from Curtis School of Dance which again were well fitting and characterised.

 

This was a very fine input and Congratulations to all the Wardrobe team on successful costume changing and presentation.

 

 

MUSIC 

 

ORCHESTRA

 

The input of Percussion and Keyboard did a stalwart job of keeping the Pantomime on course at a lively level with sympathetic and supportive backing.  Good underscoring and live effects.

 

SINGING 

 

This was a weaker aspect of the Presentation with the Solo input, but the Chorus sang good projection and all singing was with clear diction.  The song ‘Nothing Like A Dame was a little insecure with both pitch and projection, the Dwarfs with ‘Hi Ho’ gave a fine unison singing and strongly projected, Queen Caligula gave a fine strength and characterisation to ‘There’s a Bad Moon on the Rise’, and the singing input of Fairy Goodheart was projected with a strong singing pitch at all times.  ‘Review the Situation’ was well characterised.

Act 2 and a well projected ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ song and then a sweet input from Snow White and the Dwarfs.  The duet with Prince and Snow White was a little insecure and later a nice piece of harmony from the two Fairies.

The singing did lack overall secure pitch but I am sure with increased confidence as the Run progresses, the singing input will become stronger.

 

 

DIRECTION

 

 This was the second performance of the Run and initially there was still some insecurity with the dialogue but again as the Panto progresses all will become more fluid – but a lot of rehearsal is necessary with the complicated medium of Pantomime which is not as easy as many think. The opening Story Telling was excellent and a fine introduction to the Pantomime and the leading characters were all in good style. I did have some reservations about the Chorus who were nearly always in stiff straight lines, little reaction to events, and without strongly projected individual characterisations.  It is good idea to give every member of the Chorus a clear character background and encourage them to react to both each other and the situation being played out.  Small groupings all ‘gossiping’ and reacting to each other and another group, is much more effective than formal straight lines or a semicircle.  The slapstick of Bogwort and Stinkwort which is a strong element of Pantomime was good, and with fine relating to wicked Queen Caligula. The seven Dwarfs were excellent and had been very well directed and all had individual characters, and above all their stage presence was completely secure and natural – this was a first class input.

The cueing and overall pace was a little slow but again this will pick up but technical elements were well co-ordinated and gave a very fine visual presentation.

 

 

MOVEMENT & DANCE

 

CHOREOGRAPHY including DANCE SKILLS & GROUPING

The dance input of the Company was basic with repetitive steps and often in straight lines which does not make for interesting patterns of movement,  but the ‘Monster Mash’ in Act 2 was very effective. The dance input of Curtis School of Dance was excellent and with fine dance technique and lovely costumes.  Dance numbers are an important element of Pantomime and this element was certainly strong and visually very attractive.  The dance styles ranged from Ballet to Contemporary and to Tap and all well rehearsed and confident, and I fully appreciated the technique and excellent smiling faces with the Tap routine.  This was a first class input.

 

 

ACTING

 

CHARACTERISATION

 

FAIRY GOODHEART – A lovely smiling presence and her rhyming dialogue was delivered with clarity and respect for the rhythm of the lines.  She fully captured the young Fairy earning her ‘wings’.  A fine performance

 

PROFESSOR WONDERWINGS – Another good performance with a strong stage presence and sense for the rhythm of the dialogue.  Again well characterised as the more ‘learned’ Fairy.

 

QUEEN CALIGULA – A strong and commanding performance in every sense and with an excellent stage presence throughout the Pantomime.  Cuing and reacting was very good and she truly captured the evil Stepmother.  Fine relating to Black Wing and her two incapable henchmen Stinkwort and Bogwort. 

 

BLACK WING – He looked visually perfect and with good facial expressions.  He was a little slow with cuing and delivery of dialogue and this did tend to take away some of the evil intent of the character.  There was a good potential for a development of a truly sinister characterisation.

 

SPEAK TRUE – A well projected voice with just the right pace and style of delivery.

 

SNOW WHITE – A sweet presence at all times and a fine relating with Prince Frederick.  Good cuing of her dialogue and a clear projection and well motivated reactions to both the wicked Queen and with her friendliness and care for the Dwarfs.  A good traditional characterisation.

 

DANNY DUMPLING – A good energy and a fine cheerful presence. Relating with the Dame was good and a strong relating with the audience.  I felt it was a pity that the script did not allow this character to play a bigger part with more slapstick – we did not get enough of Danny’s presence.

 

DOLLY DUMPLING – At first a little insecure with the dialogue and the traditional first speech to the audience was a little weak, but soon all became stronger.  Good entrances and exits in traditional style and relating with Danny.  As with Danny the script did not allow for much slapstick with this traditional role.                                         

PRINCE FREDERICK – A characterisation in good traditional style with excellent stance and slap of the thigh.  Good strong entrances and exits striding onstage and a fine relating with Snow White.

 

BOGWORT and STINKWORT – Two very good characters working together in perfect ‘harmony’.  The inept BOGWORT and even more inept STINKWORT were always focused and with a fine energy and relating both to each other and to the Queen and Black Wing.  Their slapstick was good and well timed, and they added a strong comedy input into the Pantomime. 

 

DWARFS – I have rarely seen such fine young people in these roles.  Their attention and discipline was first class and above all each character was so well defined.  Dialogue was spoken with confidence and clarity and within their character traits, and singing and movement again strong and well motivated.  A fist class input all round by all young performers.

 

 

OVERALL ACHIEVEMENT

 

As already mentioned Pantomime is not an easy medium to present and requires a lot of disciplined rehearsal and co-ordinated input.  This was a fine achievement in many aspects but weaknesses included insecure singing input, the stiff chorus work requiring further characterisation and movement, and with some of the lead characters needing a stronger projection of character input to give pace and vitality.  Strengths were the first class visuals and lovely costuming, and the fine input of the Dance School, and of course the excellent input of the Seven Dwarfs. 

 

 

This was a good overall achievement and as the Run continues the Pantomime will continue to grow and develop into an even finer Presentation. 

 

Thank you for your very kind hospitality and I look forward to being asked again in the near future to another Production from Bath Unity Players.  

 

Thank you