This is a groovy kind of panto. In a Chickenshed twist on the tale, Snow White is transported to the Swinging Sixties, given a socially conscious message, filled with fun, fab songs you can do the Mashed Potato to, and performed by the company’s inclusive, diverse and enormous cast.
In a nice touch, we’re taken back in time via the reminiscent use of a virtual-reality headset. Snow White, performed by the wondrously voiced Cara McInanny, is the shy, relatable, conscientious kind, but her evil, flame-haired stepmother (the fabulously scenery-chewing Sarah Connolly) just wants to throw lavish parties. Not good old hippie happenings, which take place later among kinder souls, but opulent dos designed to indulge the narcissism that takes us down the poisoned-apple path we know so well.
Literally hundreds of schoolchildren perform as part of a series of tribes, from Trilby-hatted mobsters (the cute-kid-ometer hits overload here) to the Magnificent Seven, a group of benevolent collectives that replace the traditional Dwarfs. They greet our self-exiled heroine in a psychedelic caravan in the Scottish Highlands, and rousing, boppable choruses ensue, before a surprisingly upbeat ending preaching forgiveness.
If that all sounds like pantomime has taken one hell of an LSD trip, that’s how it feels – but gloriously so, with the charm of the performers (Ashley Driver’s pass-agg drag Mirror is a particular highlight), Dave Carey and Lou Stein’s original songs and the incorruptible energy of the children making it another hit for the force for good that is Chickenshed. Snow doubt about it.