‘Snow White and Rose Red’ at Elden Street Players by Julia L. Exline

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THREE AND A HALF STARS
Elden Street Players for Young Audiences presents Carter Bunch’s Snow White and Rose Red, a stage adaptation of the classic story’s roots – before a bold and daring sister was traded out for seven dwarfs and an evil queen.

Set Designer Marty Sullivan divides the stage into two sceneries; an overgrown forest (nicely painted by Sabrina Begley) and the interior of a modest cottage. Lighting Operator Michael Kwan goes between the two settings, illuminating either side of the stage depending on where the action is. Sound Designer Jon Roberts provides effects like bear growls, tinkling chimes, and ominous music to help enhance the overall tone of the show. Finally, Costumer Kathy Dunlap dresses the characters in medieval pieces, such as velvety cloaks, fur-lined robes, feathered caps, and sweeping dresses.

The cast of 'Snow White and Rose Red.' Photo courtesy of Elden Street Players.
The cast of ‘Snow White and Rose Red.’ Photo by Mary Ann Hall.

Two peasant sisters, the obedient, docile Snow White (Nikki Pope) and impudent, bold Rose Red (Nadia Duncan) are out in the forest collecting berries—at least they are supposed to be, as the adventurous Rose Red has taken to hunting for a fabled troll’s treasure while her disapproving sister looks on. Red is using a hazel rod to help her in her search—an object that has been outlawed in the kingdom and linked to witchcraft. When the King (Andrew Lent) and his son, the pampered, wimpy Prince Seymour (Michael Hagan) stumble upon the sisters, they find themselves in a sticky situation. Meanwhile, an unseen Troll (Laura Fontaine) has been ambling around the characters, seizing them up and scheming all the while. Intrigued by the Prince’s glittery golden amulet, she puts him into a trance before turning him into a beast and swiping the charm, launching a kingdom-wide search for the missing Prince.

Back at the cottage, the sisters and their mother (Bonnie Morrison) are distraught when the corrupt tax warden Dame Frumpstein (Marissa Dolcich) and her oafish son Olaf (Jonathan Justin) demand nearly all the food that they have collected for the winter months. Help appears in the form of a peculiar, lonesome bear, who has come to them to seek out food and shelter. Human-like in nature and attitude, the bear cannot communicate with the other animals of the forest, and is confused about how he came to be in this situation in the first place. After forming a strong bond with the family and taking on the role of protector and defender, the bear discovers a side of himself that he never knew was there.

While the play is an overall entertaining one, I found that the title was a bit misleading—Snow White and Rose Red are mere supporting characters in this piece, as most of the action and plot is centered around the metamorphosis of the Prince, both physically and mentally. Although many of the characters were one-dimensional and some of the performances were lackluster, there were some performances that shone: Marissa Dolcich as the delightfully evil Dame Frumpstein,   Laura Fontaine as a sneaky troll, and Nadia Duncan as the brassy Rose Red.

Despite these hurdles, It was nice to see another version of Snow White besides the Disney animated classic we all grew up with that young girls and boys will enjoy.  Take a break from the summertime heat and cool off with a performance of Snow White and Rose Red.

Running time is 60 minutes, without an intermission.

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Snow White and Rose Red plays through June 30, 2013 at Elden Street Players– 269 Sunset Park Drive – Herndon, VA. For tickets, call (703) 481-5930, or purchase them online.

Rating: 4 Stars