Photo By Emily Cooper
The Cultch has just opened their 5th annual East Van Panto, this time bringing the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to the stage with a Vancouver-specific theme. The East Van Panto has become a tradition for many local families, and this year carried on the tradition with a wacky, hilarious and wild story including parodies of pop songs and jokes about the community.
They don’t lie when they say it’s for the whole family. Although the style was extremely goofy and young, the story was full of political jokes and even a few sexual innuendos. If that’s not enough for the adult audience member, the reactions and enthusiasm from the younger patrons will win you over. The audience is encouraged to cheer, yell, and interact with the action of stage, and this makes for a child-friendly environment, and a whole lot of fun.
Popular pop songs are incorporated into the plot and add a fun musical element. The singing was hesitant at times, but the songs were perhaps more about the lyrics and familiarity than they were about the quality of singing. With that said, musician and musical director Ben Elliott, was one of the strongest aspects of the piece, both with his interactions with the actors and audience, and for his music that provided strong cohesion to the story. The music and sound design played a crucial role in the story and was done brilliantly.
Despite the child-friendly style, the characters of the piece were accessible to audience members of all ages due to the actors’ enthusiasm and committed physicality. Allan Zinyk, who played the evil queen was an absolute highlight of the night and worked the stage with his perfect embodiment of a ridiculous, wealthy woman from West Van.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves excited the kids in the audience and pleased the adults with it’s sharp humour, cohesive music, and wacky, wonderful charm.
Snow White & the Seven Dwarves plays until January 6th, 2018 | Location: York Theatre |Tickets: $22-$69