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Review: Snow White at Cambridge Junction is 'entertaining and laugh out loud'

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Prepare to be taken back to a time before wi-fi, before Donald Trump, before people voted Leave (sigh) and even before Game of Thrones.

The scene is set for the Cambridge Junction’s Christmas production of Snow White, a stylish reimagining of the fairy-tale, beautifully told by a cast of six talented actors/musicians.

For those who are not acquainted with the Junction’s take on the festive show, it’s always a bit of a hybrid – there’s a little bit of panto (thankfully, the right amount of silly jokes and slapstick and no dame in sight), a mesmerising piece of theatre and an original score of music and songs, created beautifully on this occasion by Joey Hickman and Elliot Davis.

It’s always a treat and a family favourite in our house – there’s enough in the script to keep both children and adults entertained (hence the Trump and Brexit references at the beginning of this piece).

Richard de Winter + Alex Murdoch + Jodie Davey + Joey Hickman + Abayomi Oniyide in Snow White at Cambridge Junction (5876901)
Richard de Winter + Alex Murdoch + Jodie Davey + Joey Hickman + Abayomi Oniyide in Snow White at Cambridge Junction (5876901)

This year’s show sees the return of the production company, New International Encounter. They were last in Cambridge in 2016 with an equally splendid performance of Beauty and the Beast.

Once again, the basic story never wanders too far from the original, but it has been expertly embellished and the characters – especially the Wicked Stepmother – given a bit more depth and personality. The part written for the stepmother is the show stealer. She has the most fun, the best songs and Stefanie Mueller’s relaxed performance and asides to the audience provide some of the biggest laughs.

The interaction between Mueller and the enchanted mirror is excellently choreographed and performed, including a solo dance that had the audience entranced and giggling.

And while the Wicked Stepmother follows the traditional evil route of sending poor Snow White out into the forest to be slaughtered for stealing her crown as the land’s most fairest, the character’s frailties never make you feel she’s rotten to the core.

There are of course a few tweaks to the story. With a cast totalling six, Snow White is seemingly unable to meet seven dwarves. Instead, director Alex Byrne, takes Snow White stumbling into the home of a numerically-challenged collective which is living in the forest, embracing their vegan ways.

The yurt dwellers provide a high level of comedy during the second half of the play as the Wicked Stepmother pursues Snow White, intent on ending her life and becoming, once again, the fairest of them all.

The production does get a bit baggy during this pursuit (how many times does the heroine need to come back from the dead before good triumphs over evil?), but the children were hooked throughout.

That criticism aside, Snow White provides plenty of thrills, a wonderfully selection of original music and plenty of enchanting entertainment mixed with some dry humour.

Intimate, entertaining and laugh-out loud, Snow White is the fairest of them all.

nSnow White is at the Cambridge Junction until Monday, December 31. Tickets: £15.50 (£10 con). Box office: junction.co.uk or call 01223 511511.

Harvey, aged 8:

I really enjoyed the play and my favourite character was Caleb, the dwarf as he was really funny. I also liked when the Stepmother pretended to be different people as she was trying to kill Snow White.

Elin, aged 5:

“When you put excitement and spookiness and sadness and happiness altogether it makes a really, really good story. It was all so great.”

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