When something is proclaimed “fun for the entire family,” that usually means it’s a kids show that parents suffer through in silence.
Not so with “A Snow White Christmas,” which opened Friday at the Jeanne Wagner Theatre. The kids ate up this bright, entertaining retelling of the fairy tale, and their parents laughed, too.
There was great music, good dancing and a sense of humor that worked on a lot of levels. The kids didn’t get the jokes about Elton John, Mitt Romney and “The Hunger Games,” but their parents did.
“A Snow White Christmas” brings the British tradition of panto to Salt Lake City. It’s sort of a twist on melodrama — maybe melo-musical/comedy? Audience members are encouraged to boo the Wicked Queen, cheer the Prince and Snow White, and get involved in the story. Muddles (Jonathan Mezza), the court jester, interacts with the audience a lot.
As Muddles held an apple early in the show, the kids yelled, “Don’t eat it!”
“We’re not at that part of the show yet,” he replied.
Basically, this is the familiar story of Snow White accompanied by pop music (including Laddy Gaga’s “Born This Way”; Katy Perry’s “Firework”; Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love”; and the Village People’s “YMCA”) and a sense of humor that stays this side of snark and snide.
David Osmond as the Prince and Amy Whitcomb (“The Voice”) as Snow White both have fun with their roles and provide amazing vocals. Margo Watson goes over the top in a good way as the Wicked Queen. And a recorded Nigel Lythgoe (“So You Think You Can Dance”) portrays the Magic Mirror.
And there was the occasional Utah touch, with jokes about funeral potatoes, BYU, and the Utah Jazz.
The only real criticism of “A Snow White Christmas” is that it ran rather long for a show intended for children. Friday’s performance lasted two hours and 20 minutes, with a 23-minute intermission.
This is the kind of good, clean fun that actually is a whole lot of fun to watch.
‘A Snow White Christmas’
When • Dec. 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 14, 21, 28 at 11 a.m.; Dec. 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28 at 3 p.m.; Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.
Where • Jeanné Wagner Theater, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25-$54 at the box office or arttix.org