For a month now, I’ve been hearing how great The Arden Children’s Theatre performance of Snow White is, but, well, April was crazy for us — we only finally just made it this past weekend to the show. I have to say, everything I heard is absolutely correct, and then some: The re-telling of the classic tale is creative and engaging and funny, and the actors are phenomenal (like, truly phenomenal — a mere two people play every role: Snow White, the huntsman, the evil queen, all seven dwarfs, and the magic mirror). And — happily enough — the production is still running for another month, until June 3, so you have time yet to see it. (Also! If you see it on a Friday night, you can use the code “APPLE” to get a 50 percent discount on your tickets!)
The premise of the play is one you’re quite familiar with, although this version — which is actually a world premiere production from the same writer who y’all might remember from The Arden’s Pinocchio and The Jungle Book — is livelier and funnier than any I’ve seen before. Lots of jokes, physical comedy and wink-wink fourth-wall moments with the audience get the kids giggling, and there’s really not a single dull moment in the whole play. While it might be a tad hard at times for very little ones to follow the action, given all the lightning-quick character flip-flopping, I got the sense that even when my four-year-old was missing a plot point here and there he was still quite happy just to be watching whatever was happening on stage.
As it happens, the show is actually recommended for kids 6 and up. I saw a lot of other 4s and 5s there (which is not abnormal for an Arden performance), and that didn’t seem like a huge stretch to me. Though if you have a very sensitive little one, you should know that there are a couple dark moments — talk of Snow White’s mom’s death, for instance, the queen wanting the huntsman to cut out Snow White’s heart and lungs, and so forth. (The evil queen really conveys that “evil” bit beautifully, particularly as we get deeper and deeper into the show. She grows increasingly vicious in her plots to kill Snow White. But then, kids always love a good villain, don’t they.) Still, the moments my own kid gleefully referred to as “spooky” are brief snippets sandwiched by lighter material, and by and large I’d characterize the show as bright, witty and upbeat.
The performance runs a little under an hour and a half, with no intermission, so you’ll want to fill little bellies and hit the bathrooms before you’re seated. And — as they always do at this wonderful theater — the actors hang out on stage after the show to take questions from the audience. It’s highly entertaining, and a charming way to cap off a good theater visit.
Photo caption/credit: Doug Hara and Nastassja Whitman in SNOW WHITE at Arden Theatre Company. Photo by Mark Garvin.