When most people think of Snow White, they think of the much-loved Disney version. That version, however, paints a much rosier picture of Snow White’s life. Sure, the Disney heroine contends with an evil stepmother, but in The Grimm Brothers’ version and in the version so daringly presented by Raleigh Little Theatre, it’s her own jealous mother who hates her. Though RLT’s production, entitled “Snow White: The Queen’s Fair Daughter,” is somewhat geared toward younger audiences, the dark undertones make it fun for the adults as well.
Set designer Thomas Mauney keeps things simple, which works well for younger viewers who can’t handle too much stimulation or the wait-time between fancy set changes. However, the high-tech magic mirror in the Queen’s bedroom thrills viewers of all ages. Jenny Mitchell’s costumes, which don’t pander to the Disney version, also provide visual excitement.
Though a lot happens in the course of the show—Snow White is tricked into living in the woods and falls victim to her mother’s conniving ways more than once—the run time comes in at a brief hour and fifteen minutes, just the right duration to keep young viewers captivated.
Also captivating is Paige Harper’s eerily evil Queen. Make no mistake—though this may be a “kids’ show,” Harper unabashedly showcases the Queen’s jealousy and rage. Strong, young actresses Elizabeth Reynolds and Elizabeth Kline turn out solid and sweet performances as the younger and older title character. And, of course, the seven little dwarves entertain with their cute antics and carefully delivered lines.
Not only is the show great for families to attend together, but it also makes for a wonderful school outing. Several busloads full of children were at Wednesday’s matinee performance, and the house remained amazingly quiet. Assumingly, these small viewers were too rapt with the fascinating story to let out a peep or to realize that they were partaking in an educational (but highly entertaining) experience.