Young Norwich actors put a very different spin on Snow White

Norwich Theatre Royal arts course students are putting a very unique spin on the traditional fairy story of Snow White in their latest summer production. SIMON PARKIN reports.

If you think Snow White The Truth, the latest summer production by students on Norwich Theatre Royal's arts course, is put together in a few hours, think again.

Rehearsals have been in full swing for weeks and young people have been put through their paces learning an intricate dance routine under the gimlet eye of show and arts course director David Lambert, and his team. It may be a show featuring young performers but David expects the same level of commitment as a fully professional adult production. And it is a formula of learning and nurturing that works.

Each year, a number of students go on to take up performing professionally most notably film and TV star Sam Claflin, who purely coincidentally is playing Prince Charming in Snow White and the Huntsman on the big screen. And David is tapping into Snow White fever with his latest summer production which is inspired by the Grimm's version of the classic story.

He explained: 'I decided to take a twisted look at the original fairy story. All the Grimm stories are very dark. Fairy tale is a misnomer. They are very black and very twisted and nasty and full of murder. I have gone back to that but added more twists of my own.

'The show is actually based around a story being read to Victorian orphans and, being Victorian orphans, they are not the nicest children. They want blood and horror and nastiness as lots of children tend to do.

'Read any books by Roald Dahl and you'll know what children like and that is hopefully what I am going to deliver.'

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The cast are also enjoying the chance to flex their acting muscles bringing the script to life. Grace Durbin plays the lead role and says her character is having a tough time. She said: 'She lost her mother before she got the chance to get to know her. Snow White has grown up with her wicked stepmother, who she thought didn't like her.' And it has been a major morale boost for her. Grace explained: 'I have been doing the theatre arts course since I was seven and have performed in the summer show every year. This was my first year auditioning for a lead role and, to get it, is just great.'

Fellow cast member Charlie Knowlton-Rayner plays Prince Florizel, the show's hero, who starts off the production under the control of his mother. 'I see him as being quite timid and quite childish to start with but he then comes into his own and starts growing as a person. The rehearsals have been great fun. The cast have been fantastic to work with and there are some great songs. It is one of the best shows I have worked on.'

Joe Clarke is playing the role of Snow White's father. He said: 'We have a fantastic script to work which is very different to the Snow White story we know.'

? Snow White The Truth, Norwich Playhouse, July 27-August 4 (no performance July 29), 7pm (Sat matinee 2pm), �8 (�6.50 cons), 01603 630000,