Putting a new spin on a classic fairytale can be risky business.
Stray too far, and you’re likely to have the 10 and under crowd fidgeting in their seats, more eager for intermission than the next scene.
But, as Friday’s nights opening performance of Casa Mañana’s Snow White and the Prince illustrated, stick close to the tried-and-true fairy tale where it matters and you’ll do just fine.
The play opens with Snow White preparing for her 18th birthday ball. As you’d expect, the dark-haired, fair-skinned and ruby-lipped beauty would meet her prince charming at the celebration, only to have her stepmother, the extremely vain Evil Queen, try to lock Snow White away when she learns that the teen has dethroned her as the fairest of them all.
Firstly, the play is wonderfully cast.
Snow White, played by Emma Colwell, exuded an innocence that seemed worthy of the original fairy tale and was a perfect match to the Prince, played by the handsome and confident Charlie H. Ray.
As the Evil Queen, Cara Statham Serber was, simply put, so good at being so bad. From her maniacal laugh to her wickedly-inspired wardrobe, Serber delivered a performance that while scary, was also just right for an audience of all ages.
The play did take some detours from what you’d expect from the original fairy tale.
Plain apples are so yesterday. It’s hazelnut-covered candy apples that prove the downfall for this Snow White.
There was not as much character development of the Seven Dwarfs, nor the famous “Heigh-Ho” performance, but the seven boys and girls performances did provide several laughs to the musical.
Also drawing several chuckles was Magic Mirror, played by Ryan Page, a far more three-dimensional character that what we’re used to that proved a welcoming change.
The play is written by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, creators of other popular Casa Mañana productions such as Rapunzel! Rapunzel! and How I Became a Pirate, and directed by Noah Putterman, Casa Mañana’s Director of Children’s Theatre and Education.