Chickenshed Theatre was founded in 1974 and is a ground-breaking theatre company. They deliver a broad programme of performance, education and training, as well as participatory outreach with the community.
Lou Stein is both the director and writer of the show and his take on Snow White attempts to contemporise the story by bringing it to London. The show begins with Snow White questioning her wealthy privilege, and wondering whether there’s more to life than being a rich girl living in Regent’s Park. This was an interesting element of the play, as the issue of privilege and the wealth gap is very topical, particularly in London. Stein was able to address this issue in a subtle manner that did not overshadow the overall buoyancy of the musical.
The set, designed by William Fricker, was elaborately adorned with great detail and was manipulated smoothly throughout the production. This was particularly effective when Snow White found herself in a 60’s hippy commune in Scotland. The audience was transported from an opulent mansion to a psychedelic caravan, all at the drop of a hat.
The usual suspects were all present in this production: the wicked Stepmother (Sarah Connolly), the humorous and sardonic Mirror (Ashley Driver) and the Seven Dwarves (renamed ‘The Magnificent Seven’) all familiar characters yet with a twist of Stein’s individual stamp to provide a different perspective on the well-known fairy tale.
If you enjoy musicals, this won’t disappoint, with song and dance punctuating the production; there’s always a catchy number (accompanied by a very talented live band) to smile along to. Snow White, played by Cara McInanny has a beautiful voice and though the lyrics to the songs were sometimes overshadowed by the vibrant score, McInanny’s dulcet tones still stood out as a highlight of the show.
This was an incredibly inclusive production, with performers of varied ages and abilities gracing the stage and thoroughly enjoying themselves too. Sign language was incorporated into the choreography of the show which demonstrated real thought and consideration towards ensuring all audience members felt welcome and part of the spectacle. This, for me, was the forte of the production; the commitment to show, by example, how important inclusive casting is and prove that it enhances the whole experience for both audience and participants alike. It would be a wonderful thing to see more West End and fringe shows follow suit and adopt ethics akin to those of Chickenshed.
If you’re up for seeing a unique take on an old classic, certainly pop along to Chickenshed Theatre for this fun show for all the family.
Written and Directed By: Lou Stein
Producer: Zeeta Jacobs
Composer and Musical Director: Dave Carey
Movement Director: Belinda McGuirk
Box Office: 020 8292 9222
Booking Link: https://www.chickenshed.org.uk/Event/snow-white#DatesTimes
Booking Until: 11 January 2020