(reviewed at the Cambridge Junction on 10 December 2015)
The fairy and folk tales collected by the brothers Grimm in the early 19th century may form the basis for many a pantomime and children’s play but they are not always as sunny – nor are the endings always happy ones – as stage and film cartoon adaptations suggest. RashDash’s riff on the story of Snow White and her sister Rose Red makes this clear.
It’s this year’s Christmas show for family audiences at the Cambridge Junction and makes the contrast between the sisters very clear. Snow White (Helen Goalen) is the gentle and loving sibling, but a girl who can dig in her moral heels when required. Rose Red (Abbi Greenland) is altogether more tomboy, not to say downright butch, itching to get out there and do something.
The trigger for their adventures is a bear (Tom Penn) who comes calling in the course of a quest and who immediately elicits Snow White’s sympathies. The sisters encounter a very small man with a very long beard (Ed Wren), who is not as nice or as helpful as he pretends.
Presiding over it all is the snow angel (Becky Wilkie all glitter and misty grey) and there’s a good use of an over-worked fairy helper cum stage manager (Laura Page). The music is by Penn, Wren and Wilkie who preside over a battery of guitars, drums and keyboard.
In the end the bear resumes his human shape as Robert and joins his soul-mate Snow White. Shorn of that straggling facial hair, the very small man turns out to be a quite personable Graham. But Rose Re makes it clear that she prefers girls. It’s all engaging enough, though it could do with considerable cutting, notably of the first half.
Snow White & Rose Red plays at the Cambridge Juntion until 31 December.