Friday, January 6, 2012

Infinite Abyss: Snow White Trash (3 reviews)

Infinite Abyss Productions opened its production of Snow White Trash at Empire Stage on January 7, 2012.  It's a new play written by local artists Erynn Dalton and Jeffrey D. Holmes.
Snow White Trash isn't your classic classy fairy tale. After the beautiful, innocent Snow White escapes death at the hands of the Evil Queen, she finds herself in a strange land surrounded by sexy good ole boys. Little does Snow know that her new friends have arranged her marriage to the incredibly hunky (and very gay) Prince, who can only inherit his father's fortune by marrying a "nice girl."  In the meantime, the Evil Queen and her Magic Mirror hatch a plan to ensure Snow White's demise. Will Snow White's new friends be able to save her? Will Prince convince himself that he likes girls long enough to marry Snow and inherit the kingdom? How will Snow White react to mullets, leather, porn and Magnum P.I.?
Jeffrey D. Holmes directed a cast that included Danielle Tabino, Kitt Marsh, Jim Gibbons, Angel Perez, Dominick Daniel, Jordana Forrest and Zachary Schwartz.

Rod Stafford Hagwood wrote for The Sun-Sentinel:
After the show's somewhat funny start, the laughs trickle down to a chuckle here and there, until it reaches — finally — an unfunny and sloppy ending.
Kind of like Hagwood's review, rife with fragmentary sentences and one-sentence paragraphs, inexplicably spread across two pages.
Oh, some magic spells for laughs are still being cast. Take, for example, the genuinely funny topical shout-outs to the likes of Rick Santorum and Tim Tebow, or the elbow-nudge-your-seat-neighbor references to Davie and Tamarac. There are even riffs on movies "Pulp Fiction," "Harry Potter," "An American Tail" and, so-slight-I-might-have-imagined-it, "The Wizard of Oz." The Evil Queen is compared to "a female Ellen DeGeneres" and advised to wax her back if she really wants to be the fairest in the land. All of it is good, raunchy stuff.

But then, there are so many misfires that the goodwill established with the opening is quickly used up in the 75-minute, no-intermission comedy. And yes, the NC-17-rated language helps a bit, for there is something inherently funny about a fractured fairy tale with enough cussing to make a sailor blush.

Note; the following reviews are of a preview performance, something normally frowned upon.  But with a relatively short run and so many other shows opening this week and next, the producers chose to invite the critics in early.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
The first 15 minutes of Infinite Abyss’ Snow White Trash is a delightfully zany spoof that imaginatively reinterprets the fairy tale as a crass, royal blue hoot in which Disney’s sweet but dimwitted heroine takes refuge with the mullet-headed Dwarf Family living in a trailer park.

Unfortunately, after that, there’s another 50 minutes left.
This world premiere script by Infinite Abyss founders Erynn Dalton, the producer, and Jeffrey D. Homes, the director, roared to life with a lot of promise, reminiscent of a raucously irreverent Saturday Night Live skit back in the days when SNL was still consistently funny.

Snow White Trash rightfully makes no excuses for having absolutely no socially redeeming meaning whatsoever. Instead, it revels in being stupid fun, from the moment a sleazy narrator (the very funny Dominick Daniel with slicked back hair, pointed sideburns and Brooklyn brogue straight out of Goodfellas) says to the audience grasping their drinks, “I hope you’re pissed already.”
There’s also some laughs when a magic mirror (Zachary Schwartz who basically lifts a window shade on a picture frame) channels Paul Lynde and answers the Queen’s classic queries by crooning pop tunes.
It starts to fall apart when Snow escapes to the trailer park featuring Jim Gibbons, Angel Perez, Jordana Forrest and a silent Schwartz as the Dwarf Family. Comic timing disintegrates and the pace crawls slower than the characters’ drawl. Giggles like Perez oiling down Snow’s fey Prince (Daniel as a bisexual clone of the titular entertainer) goes on and on and on after the audience gets the joke.
The only actor to keeping the energy humming is Danielle Tabino, who is consistently entertaining as the daffy, impossibly naive heroine clueless to all the evil and considerable sexual sleaze surrounding her.
The sloppiness is a surprise because while Infinite Abyss’ last show, Mitzi’s Abortion, was just passable, its production of The Pillowman last year was superb with the same director and two of the same actors here. Let’s hope they return to that level of work.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Thursday’s first performance, officially a preview, began promisingly enough with Dominick Daniel as a funny faux tough-guy narrator named Vito. Soon enough, we’re at the castle of the Evil Queen (Kitt Marsh), where the vain one is constantly seeking beauty validation from a magic mirror. Inside the mirror is a tart-tongued spirit (Zachary Schwartz) who is way more queen-like than Snow White’s step-mummy will ever be.
...Snow White (Danielle Tabino) is a pretty girl with a killer bod and an empty head. Whether the playwrights or Tabino decided to make Snow so slow, it’s tough to root for a “heroine” who makes Dopey look like a rocket scientist.
....after that hopeful start, Snow White Trash becomes a hodge podge in which the authors just spew jokes, gross-out images and topical references (Tim Tebow?!) in hopes that somehow, a satisfying parody will emerge from a messy pop culture cut-and-paste job. For sure, the show (which lasts just over an hour, though it feels longer) will get tighter as several dead spots get excised. But it would take much more than a kiss to save Snow White Trash.
Infinite Abyss Productions presents Snow White Trash at Empire Stage through January 28, 2012.

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