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Ross Petty’s Snow White: A Review

Ross Petty scores once again with his winning fractured-fairy tale SNOW WHITE The Deliciously Dopey Family Musical! Every holiday season, Pantomine thrives at Toronto's Historic Elgin Theatre.This year, Ross Petty has come up with yet another delightful, entertaining show that combines usual liveliness with eccentric originality.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Ross Petty…

For those unfamiliar with a fractured fairy tale, it’s designed to be humorous by changing the story in an unexpected way; altering the characters, and infusing current references and events. This year, Snow White meets 007 in Ross’ Petty’s latest hilarious family musical.

Snow White played by Melissa O’Neil (former Canadian idol winner) is introduced to the audience when she spends time with her woodland friends: a raccoon, a skunk, a squirrel, and a pigeon, who have inspired her to become a veterinarian. However, the evil Queen (played by none other than Ross Petty himself - the man we love to hate) has other plans. The Queen sends her servant Infestus the Fool (played by Eddie Glen, now an established and favourite cast member) to fetch the young Snow White. They want her to pose for a photo which the queen will use as her online dating profile. Her aging evilness also wants to take over the land to lay claim to all the Botox. Snowie, as she is referred to in the show, refuses to be part of the Queen’s deception. She escapes the kingdom into a deep dark forest full of familiar fairy tale characters, and that’s where the adventure begins, taking us as far away from Snow White as it gets!

In this version, there aren’t “7” dwarfs but rather one “007” … James Bond, brilliantly performed by Graham Abbey. He's played in previous pantos … the Prince in an earlier Snow White and Robin Hood for which he won a Dora Award. He's been on the Stratford scene for 13 years. He steals the show with his slick Bond moves, his cabin full of Bond gear, and the Bond girls in gold lame by his side.

Then there’s a talented cast of assorted fairy tale characters. Red Riding Hood played by Bryn McAuley is a hilarious valley girl, proficient at social media and Snow White’s BFF. One Little Pig, superbly played by Reid Janisse, is a porcine Don Cherry who keeps score of the story like a hockey game. Pinocchio (Billy Lake) knows his way around wood and puns. Then there’s Jack the Giant Killer who has become a pacifist, and Snow White’s love interest.

Great pantos such as this one are grounded with local references. The ones on offer here are very funny with a collection of Rob Ford jokes, Canadian cultural allusions, and pokes at the government, hockey, Honey Boo Boo, and more. Modern music fills the stage with current hits by Katy Perry, One Direction, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, and LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I know It” (Ross Petty’s theme song when he asks the Mirror who is the fairest of them all). Things really perk up with the arrival of this year's biggest sensation, the Gangnam Style dance number.

Children are encouraged to shout out and jeer at the ugly Queen. Some of the funniest moments of the evenings –  the participation of 3 children brought up on stage from the audience to play along with the frivolity, and the interaction between Ross and one little girl who gives up the plot!

Snow White is silly and witty in equal measure with some impressive visual extras. One of the highlights of course is the ‘word from the Sponsors.’ Plumbum (from past shows) is sadly missed from this production but fortunately makes an appearance via the Mirror and the commercials.

Snow White is an evening that sparkles … an entertaining holiday treat that will leave the audience (all ages) laughing and singing.

The show closes on Saturday, January 5, 2013. Tickets start at $27. For information, visit www.rosspetty.com.

Photos By: Racheal McCaig