‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ at The Puppet Company

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The Puppet Co. presents Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, an adaptation of the Grimm’s classic with a mixed cast of actors and rod puppets. Playwright Christopher Piper uses intricately-detailed puppets and animation in this version to keep things interesting, while also celebrating the original plot.

Chema Pineda-Fernandez (Snow White) with her Dwarves. Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Shayla Garfield (Snow White) with her Dwarves. Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Allan Stevens is the director of this production, as well as set and costume designer. The stage (constructed by Eric Brooks, Ingrid Crepeau, and Allan Stevens) surrounds a circular frame, inside which silhouetted animation can be seen, as well as stained-glass scenery like a humble cottage and a stately castle perched atop a high, rocky cliff.

The costume that stands out the most in this production is that of the Rose Queen, who is dressed in a red-velvet cape, imperiously high collar, and towering golden crown. The menacing queen keeps her back to the audience while she is onstage, making her presence all the more ominous. In a great scene (perhaps my favorite), she uses some creative tricks to swiftly change her costume into that of an old woman wearing tattered rags (this transformation got a collective and impressed “ooooooh” from the audience).

Music and sound effects such as chirping birds and galloping horses by Eric Brooks and Lighting (again, Christopher Piper) work together to enhance the changing tones of the plot.

Performers include Christopher Piper, Allan Stevens, Shayla Garfield, and Chema Pineda-Fernandez as Snow White and her Prince. Rod puppets make up the group of dwarves, and instead of the dominant personality traits that we are used to associating with them (Grumpy, Happy, etc), each dwarf instead has a great skill. For instance, one dwarf has an exceptionally large nose, and with it, an extremely keen sense of smell. This follows with a dwarf with humongous ears and the hearing to match, one with protuberant eyes, and so forth. They work together with their super-abilities to try and protect Snow White from the queen’s wrath… ultimately in vain, as Snow White’s kind and gentle nature makes her easy prey. Can the prince save his beloved?

The acting is fair enough to get the story across, though at my performance, it could have used some polishing. The exceptional aspects of this show are, by far, the puppets; each made with detailed, unique traits and expertly maneuvered by the puppeteers. You may notice that the same names keep reappearing in all sorts of both technical and creative roles; The Puppet Company is made up of a tight-knit group of talented people who spread out an exhaustive workload among each other to bring about fantastic productions, and I am always impressed by their results.

Treat your family to an afternoon showing of The Puppet Company’s Snow White and the 7 Dwarves. You will have a great time!

Running Time: 40 minutes, without an intermission.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves plays through August 9, 2015 at The Puppet Company – 7300 MacArthur Blvd., in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call (301) 634-5380 or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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