Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Fans of the Disney film will find this version familiar, but Banks' script is more closely aligned with the 1812 story by the Brothers Grimm. Snow White is born after the queen spills a drop of blood onto the snow and wishes for a child with lips as red as blood, hair as black as ebony, and a heart as pure as snow. (Banks' wise decision to replace "skin as white as snow" instantly makes the story accessible to a wider audience and rejects equation of white skin with beauty. Hooray!) Snow White's mother dies and a beautiful but wicked stepmother takes her place. The new queen is jealous of her step-daughter's beauty and commands a huntsman to kill her in the woods. Snow White escapes into the forest instead and finds happiness among the seven dwarfs and mother nature.
The whole harrowing tale is relayed by Snow White herself (Nastassja Whitman's youthful energy is enchanting) and dwarf number 4 (an infinitely energetic Doug Hara). Whitman and Hara's skills are manifest in the seemingly endless roster of people, animals and elements they portray. The pair's comfort performing for young people is also evident. Whitman is energized by her enthusiastic young audience and Hara swiftly shifts in response to the level of energy in the house. Daniel Perelstein's musical accompaniment is similarly dexterous and a tremendous boon to the production.
Christopher Haig's refreshingly open set and Amanda Jensen clever lighting designs seem to invite the audience into the story. Do your kids a favor and let yourself go on the adventure.
Snow White, through Sunday June 10, 2018, at the Arden Theatre's Arcadia Stage, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets Call the Box Office at 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.