Tag Archives: Dave Carey

Snow White

Snow White

★★★★★

Chickenshed Theatre

Snow White

Snow White

Chickenshed Theatre

Reviewed – 5th December 2019

★★★★★

 

“a unique experience of entertainment, enlightenment and warmth”

 

Another year and another Chickenshed Christmas extravaganza! This time, we are thrown into the 1960s; society is tossing aside its coat of conformity, young people are asserting their individuality and music and fashion are colourful, vibrant and defiant. Snow White resents her shallow, affluent life in the Regent’s Park mansion, and the elite parties thrown by her stepmother. A ‘has been’ fashion model, Jane de Villiers is jealous of her for having the looks she, herself, has lost and for the love her banker husband shows for his daughter. To remain ‘the fairest of them all’, she instructs her security guard to kill Snow White. Of course (as we all know the plot) he doesn’t; she flees to the Scottish Highlands where she meets the Magnificent Seven, a commune of outsiders who feel they don’t belong but have found love, friendship and happiness together.

Within the structure of the narrative, writer and director, Lou Stein, with a small student collective, develops 60s themes, shapes strong principal roles and form teams and clans to enable a huge cast to participate, benefit and enjoy. And whether it is the youngest ‘Sixties Swinger’, the smallest ‘Mirror’ or the oldest Sprite’, they do this with intoxicating energy, enthusiasm and commitment. Cara McInanny is a wonderfully down to earth and sympathetic Snow White, her narcissistic stepmother is played with frighteningly malignant nerve by Sarah Connolly and, as the down-trodden husband, Jonny Morton gives a remarkably strong performance. All three sing beautifully with confidence and ease. Nathaniel Leigertwood plays Jason the security guard, with just the right ingenuousness and as Bobby The Buster, Will Laurence leads his mobsters into trouble with great aplomb. A mirror with charisma, Ashley Driver also integrates the signing into the show, along with two of the ‘Seven’, Sarah Jones and Bethany Hamlin, drawing the whole audience into the action. Dave Carey’s varied musical numbers spread across the many genres of that time. Not only reminiscent of the Beatles he also gives us a taste of Pink Floyd, reggae and ‘Hair’, the musical.

The set, by William Fricker, incorporates artistic designs of the decade with the looking-glass motif in a stunning combination of simplicity and practicality – monochrome, geometric patterns and circles and a wall of assorted mirrors which double up as screens for projections of 60s London life. Fricker’s costumes touch on the various styles of the era (including the Dr. Seuss-esque Psychedelic Sprites), devises dazzling mirrors and cleverly keeps Snow White’s colour scheme to the popular blue, yellow and red. The lighting by Andrew Caddies gives an additional layer of richness to the visual brilliance of the production.

There may be some magic formula to juggling the logistics of putting on a show with four casts of 200 but I imagine it comes down to dedication, experience and a lot of hard work. One could perhaps point out the somewhat accelerated ending, that the band occasionally drowns the singing or question where the Psychedelic Sprites really fit into the tale, but it hardly seems relevant. ‘Snow White’ gives everyone the chance to feel part of something while expressing their own potential. For the audience, it is a unique experience of entertainment, enlightenment and warmth.

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington

Photography by Steve Gregson

 


Snow White

Chickenshed Theatre until 11th January

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | ★★★ | April 2018
Mr Stink | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Jekyll & Hyde | ★★★★ | September 2018
A Christmas Carol | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Christmas Tales | ★★★ | December 2018
Monolog 2 | ★★★ | February 2019
100% Chance Of Rain | ★★★ | March 2019
Feel The Love | ★★★★ | July 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

100% Chance of Rain
★★★

Chickenshed Theatre

100% Chance of Rain

100% Chance of Rain

Chickenshed Theatre

Reviewed – 11th March 2019

★★★

 

“There are many engaging elements of this show”

 

Chickenshed Theatre prides itself on creating theatre in response to issues which are ever-present in our society. Following last spring’s critically acclaimed show, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, they present 100% Chance of Rain, which focuses on mental health and wellbeing.

The show, conceived and directed by Lou Stein, consists of seven standalone segments highlighting different issues relating to the main topic of mental health. These are split up with the addition of an art therapist character, Liz Abulafia (Belinda McGuirk), delivering various monologues and introducing the different parts. Each piece was devised as a result of workshops in which the young performers were encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts in relation to the different issues and themes explored.

The first entitled “Sweet Dreams” explores self-harm through a combination of abstract words and verbatim, as well as stylised movement. This is a powerful sequence and the young people involved display a high level of commitment to and empathy with the subject matter.

In “Head Above Water”, stress, anxiety and depression are explored. A clever design element is used here, with people rolling across the front of the stage under a large piece of material, simulating water and waves. This, combined with the movements delivered by the performers, makes for a visually exciting piece.

Chickenshed’s Vocal Voices perform during the evening. Musical Director Dave Carey (assisted by Cara McInanny)  ensures the group’s performance is one of the main strengths of the show and adds to its overall intensity. An acapella arrangement of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, sandwiched between two of the show’s early sections, is particularly stunning. An arrangement of This Boy by Tom Baxter towards the end of the show is also well delivered with lovely harmonies. It would have been beneficial for more of this type of singing to have been included to further showcase the talents of the performers.

The design (Sebastian Gonzalez) provides some interesting elements. The stage is framed by umbrellas, a nod to the show’s title. A large screen at the back of the stage displays visual features such as text and multimedia elements. Lighting design (Andrew Caddie) is good and complements the emotions and moods portrayed well.

There are many engaging elements of this show, be it lighting, vocals, choreography or the important subject matter. However, what predominantly shines through and is the most endearing is the sense of community that is clear to see. As with all Chickenshed shows, each and every person involved, regardless of ability, is 100% committed to what they are doing and clearly care for one another.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Daniel Beacock

 


100% Chance of Rain

Chickenshed Theatre until 30th March

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Monolog | ★★★ | February 2018
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow | ★★★★ | March 2018
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | ★★★ | April 2018
Mr Stink | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Jekyll & Hyde | ★★★★ | September 2018
A Christmas Carol | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Christmas Tales | ★★★ | December 2018
Monolog 2 | ★★★ | February 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com