Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 4, 2021

Review: Ct. Shakespeare Festival, “Snow White”

Playhouse on Park, West Hartford, CT

through August 22, 2021

by Tim O’Brien


Got kids? Grab them and go see this show. Got no kids? Go see this show anyway. You’ll leave the theater happy.


Director Moira O'Sullivan has hit a legitimate all-ages home run here, taking an already charming script, adding two terrific young actors and complementing them with a talented on-stage musician/live Foley-ist. (Is that a word? It should be.) You heard it right; just TWO thespians handle all the parts, with a little help from a friend, and it’s a downright blast.


This script hews closer to the original Grimm than the animated Disney film of the 1930’s. When Snow White meets the dwarves, they take her in as an equal, not so much as the maid-like domestic of the movie. A prince eventually shows up, but it’s clear she doesn’t need him for validation, or much else.


Harvey & Mishina
Part of the big fun lies in the gleeful destruction of the fourth wall. From the jump, Snow White (a radiant and confident Resa Mishina) and Dwarf #4 (rubber-faced cutup Patrick Harvey) realize “the others” aren’t coming to help “tell the story.” Acknowledging they’ll be hard-pressed to accomplish that goal properly as a duo, the pair push on gamely.


Game afoot, Harvey provides a comic tour de force, interchangeably portraying a narrator-like Dwarf #4, the huntsman, the six other dwarves, the put-upon castle page, the evil stepmom, most of the magic mirror and prince moments, and at times, Snow White herself. During one segment, his character changes come at a furious pace, recalling Robin Williams at the peak of his zany powers.

Mishina, while clearly older, perfectly presents “Snow” initially as the innocent 11-year-old of the book, and later as a strong young woman who knows her mind. She earned some good laughs taking her own turn as some of the other characters, as well.


The “secret sauce” of this so-tasty production is the accompanist, Katrien Van Riel. Her in-the-moment sound effects and musical interjections were spot-on, and this reviewer especially enjoyed her Greek chorus-like facial expressions, which helped the littler ones understand some of the emotions on stage. And, as Sullivan explained later, Van Riel wrote several clever original song snippets (which well deserve to be expanded, if possible.)


The set is adorable but spare, by necessity; it “belongs” more to the simultaneous run of “Into the Woods.” But it’s not even necessary. This production of “Snow White” could be held in a stark black box without losing a drop of its whimsical sweetness.


Get thee hence, pronto.