The Puppet Co. presents Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, a retelling of the Grimm’s classic with a cast comprised of people…and puppets! With puppets and animation by Christopher Piper, this version employs a couple of subtle twists to keep things interesting, while staying true to the original plot that has captivated young audiences for decades.
Allan Stevens presents himself as a triple-threat in this production, boasting the title of Director as well as Set and Costume Designer. The blue-painted stage surrounds a circular frame, inside which silhouetted animation can be seen throughout the production, as well as stained-glass images such as a humble cottage and a stately castle perched atop a high, rocky cliff. The actors are dressed as if they stepped right out of a storybook; the Prince in billowy pants and a vest, Snow White in a simply cut blue and white dress. The costume that stands out the most in this production is that of the Rose Queen, who is dressed in a stark-red cape, imperiously high collar, and elbow-length gloves. Sound effects such as chirping birds by Eric Brooks and Lighting by Dan Brooks work together to reveal the changing tones of the plot.
Performers include Christopher Piper, Allan Stevens, and Molly MacKenzie and Mason O’Sullivan as Snow White and her Prince. Seven quirky puppets fill the stage as the Dwarves, who attempt to shield Snow White from the Queen’s envy. Instead of the dominant personality traits that we are used to associating with the dwarves (Sleepy, Bashful, etc), each dwarf instead has a great skill or strength. 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, etcetera. They work together with their super-senses to try and protect Snow White, and discourage her from speaking her name to anyone. However, Snow White is a naïve and far too trusting for her own good, and she lands in the evil queen’s hands faster than it took the prince to propose to her (after a couple mere sentences, and without even knowing her name). Can the prince save his beloved?
The exceptional aspects of this show are, by far, the puppets; each made with unique character traits and expertly maneuvered by the puppeteers. The acting is fair enough to get the story across, though it did seem as though the Prince was speaking his lines as if reciting them from a textbook. Special effects are great in this show as well, from a “snowfall,” to a clever transformation from the evil Queen to an old beggar-woman.
Cute, clever, and condensed enough to fit into a busy afternoon, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves proves to be a fun outing for the family!
Running time is 40 minutes without an intermission.
Snow White and the 7 Dwarves runs through September 2, 2012 at The Puppet Company in Glen Echo Park – 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, in Glen Echo, MD. Purchase tickets by calling (301) 634-5380 or order them online.