Feisty Merriment: Snow White and Rose Red by RashDash at Battersea Arts Centre, London

Feisty Merriment: Snow White and Rose Red by RashDash at Battersea Arts Centre, London

Who ever heard of a villain called Graham? But in the gently subversive world of RashDash’s Snow White and Rose Red, it makes absolute sense. The performance, at London’s Battersea Arts Centre, was a quirky set of engaging drama, spirited dance, and mesmerising songs.

Snow White and Rose Red’s tale is told with a knowing wink to the audience. The sisters – played by Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenalnd, who also wrote, directed and choreographed the performance – are at pains to point out that this tale is not the same as Disney’s Snow White. Instead, it’s derived from a darker story, from the Brothers Grimm.

Against a modernist set of scaffolding poles, which occasionally twinkle into life as neon trees, the sisters tell the tale of a man called Graham, whose heart is frozen when he goes out for elk and pickle sandwiches, and returns to find his village all lost in the snow. He sets about cursing people, and turning them ino hideous creatures. There are many plot twists in this story – possibly too many for the younger members of the audience to follow (lots of families came with children under five, although the show is billed for over-5s). When a bear turns up and Snow White falls in love with the ursine character, the sisters are plunged into a quest that sees them venturing out into the snow, and fighting fearsome foe.

RashDash’s energy and enthusiasm turned what could have been an overly long performance into something that sent families (even the ones with very young children) out into the chilly night with smiles and merriment. The final ‘boss’ baddie, the Creepalicious Creature, was an impressive, 10-foot tall puppet. The Snow Angel, played by Becky Wilkie, charmed the audience (and Rose Red) with her sardonic sparkliness. And the music’s variety drew us in. With echoes of Bat For Lashes, Mumford and Sons, CBBC show Nellie and Nora – and, of course, a bit of Frozen – it was cleverly written and executed.

The first half was a bit too long, and some of the dialogue a little bit too clever-clever. But, after this performance, I’m dying to see what RashDash come up with next. They are clearly destined to scale snowy peaks, and bring down many, many baddies.

Battersea Arts Centre invited us to see Snow White and Rose Red for the purpose of this review. All views are my own.

Picture credit: the Other Richard B

Snow White and Rose Red is at Battersea Arts Centre until 30 December 2017. Ticket prices range from £12.50-£22. It’s suitable for children over 5.

If you’d like to read about more Christmas theatre in London, check out our guide.

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  1. January 5, 2018 / 8:14 am

    I love stories that tell the darker side of a fairytale. This sounds a wonderful production. #culturedkids

    • January 5, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      It was. Not schmaltzy at all, but super-cute nevertheless.

  2. January 5, 2018 / 8:55 am

    This sounds like lots of fun, Nell. I like things that are a bit off-beat. I used to volunteer at the Batersea Arts Centre – it is such a lovely venue!

    • January 5, 2018 / 12:17 pm

      Oh, I never knew that! Yes, it’s a great place. They’re refurbishing it at the moment, after last year’s fire.

  3. January 5, 2018 / 11:55 am

    I’ve not heard of rashdash but certainly one to look out for

    • January 5, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      They’re relatively new, I think. Bags of talent.

  4. January 5, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    Sounds like an interesting version. We went to our first panto (well, my first since being an adult) this Christmas, and that one dragged on too long for us. I think I prefer shows with a hint to panto rather than the full on camp fun.

    • January 8, 2018 / 7:53 pm

      We saw our first Panto as a family this year, too. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it, but I’m now a massive fan of the genre. I think you either love them or hate them!

  5. January 5, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    It sounds like an awesome show, and I’d probably go and enjoy it slightly more than the kids would. I love that London does so many great shows with kids in mind though. Panto’s and plays are great for them. #CulturedKids

    • January 8, 2018 / 7:54 pm

      London really is a spectacular place for shows. We’re spoiled for choice!

  6. Like Denmark’s own H.C. Andersen, the Grimm fairy tales are definitely darker than the average Disney-fied fare, we have learnt here as well. I personally like to see a remix on old classics and the idea of a new Snow White telling! Sounds fun! #CulturedKids

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      Yes, I think it would have been right up your street, Erin!

  7. January 5, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    Oooh RashDash sounds like a name to look out for, I prefer the darker nature of the Grimm tales to the saccharine of Disney.

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:04 pm

      Me too! They’re definitely a company to watch.

  8. January 5, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    I love taking my girls to the theatre, wish we did it more often. This sounds like a clever and interesting twist, and one I would definitely want to see! #fculturedkids

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      I think you’d love this company, Corey.

  9. January 6, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Yip, Graham sounds evil to me 🙂 Love entertainment with a twist.

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:14 pm

      🙂 Graham will always be one of those names for me now….

  10. January 7, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Its always nice to get a fresh take on an old story! We took the boys to see A Christmas Carol in Windsor Castle over the holidays and it was such a great experience I’m definitely going to look into taking them to more live theater. #culturedkids

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Oh, what an amazing venue for a play! I bet that was wonderful.

  11. January 8, 2018 / 8:10 am

    This sounds like a great production…sometimes prefer something a little darker! #culturedkids

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Me too! Although it was pretty light and jolly at the same time, too.

  12. January 8, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    A very intriguing version. Love when fairytales come with a twist #CulturedKids

    • January 8, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      And me!

  13. January 9, 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Sounds like an intriguing show! I must get some theatre shows booked in my diary and I’ll keep a look out for RashDash. #culturedkids

    • January 13, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      You should! x

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