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.
And don’t forget to check out our guide to the best theatres for kids in London.