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Looking Back: A Grimm’s Fairy Tale Comes to Life


John Kinnear

Mar 6, 2024

Last weekend’s production of Snow White.

Stinkwort and Bogwort are pretty unusual names but aptly fitted the two hired assassins in last weekend’s production of Snow White.  Their job was to (gulp) murder the fairest of them all when she turned 18. Local amateur actors Chelsey Rees and Jamie Reeve were very much into their characters in these roles, as was the rest of the extensive cast for this wonderful show.  The Wort’s antics provided a lot of great entertainment, as they waffled back and forth as to whether to follow Queen Grimelza’s scathing instructions. “Do it or I will turn you both to stone.”  They were told to bring back Snow Whites heart in a box and at one point, when they realized they could not hurt Snow White, they concocted a hilarious scheme. Stinkwort went to IGA and bought two hearts there, as they were on sale on a two for one deal which made perfect sense to him. When the box was handed to the Queen it took some serious explaining as to why there were two, but she bought it, for a time. 

The Queen, portrayed by Ali Sandilands, was truly a dominating figure and commanded respect and obedience from everyone including the audience. Ali is an integral part of the Red Ravens Performing Artists Society, created in 2019 here. Their mission is to tap into the talented society’s member’s strengths in order to “provide a dynamic and diverse entertainment, support and nurture performers, directors, technicians and talented musicians.” 

Her appearance on stage usually brought a resounding “boo” from us all but she was able to silence us at will, with a menacing look and a broad sweep of her hand.  The level of acting talent blended into this show was truly over the top.  In particular, Grimelza’s faithful and sinister assistant Oswald (brilliantly played by Bryna Cline) was, for many, one of the highlights of the production. Dressed all in black and wielding a sword she was either cringing at the Queens forceful demands, threatening the dwarves and the rest of the gang or flying about the stage in a spectacular fashion as a crow.  She was transformed by the Queen into a corvid in order to spy on the goings on in the forest and as punishment for not ensuring that the Worts got the job done.   

The character of Snow White was perfectly cast by Sophie Wendrich, a thirteen-year-old who is going places. Her angelic looks and demure mannerism was exactly what one would expect of Snow White. She brings to mind the moral, “Vanity will not take you far but kindness will.”  She was the direct opposite of Grimelza and charmed everyone with her sweet innocence.  

What really struck me about this production only came to me after I reflected on it all. There were, at strategic times, songs woven into the play that connected to what was happening. One of the cast characters was a truly engaging individual named Dolly Dumpling (Peyton McAuley), who, not surprisingly danced to the music of  “Hello Dolly”, in a very animated way.  Some of the songs that were sung by the cast throughout the evening were, “Consider Yourself One of Us” (Oliver Twist), probably referring to the Seven Dwarves inviting Snow White to be with them and “Hey Now You’re a Rock Star” by Smash Mouth.  The dwarves are quite a group of characters that go by the altered names of  Grouchy, Snoozy, Sniffly, Cheerful, Dozy, Disney and TD (Top Dwarf).

The Queen grabbed a microphone at one point and, along with the enigmatic Oswald, belted out The Destroyers classic “Bad to the Bone” which pretty much summed up her character.  When Snow White is rescued by a kiss they all broke into the song “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang.  Playing all these songs and providing background music as the scenes rolled on was a guitarist and singer that the cast referred to as “The Band Formerly Known as Dave.”Dave is in fact a very experienced and talented musician by the name of Dave Shortreed.  He came into the game rather late in the rehearsals, in early January, to a production that had started with auditions in late October of last year. Dave was delighted to join in and loved the challenge. He got to be creative and wove in some subtle licks from Garth Brooks, some progressive rock, some classical and whatever he felt would fit the scene.

When I contemplated the time commitment to Snow White; to continuous rehearsals, missed dinners, learning lines so you know them dead cold, and even learning music, it all adds up to a huge amount of work and dedication to pulling this play off.  Since October no less! 

And pull it off they did, in a splendid fashion that the audience found highly entertaining and engaging.  The voice of the mirror mirror on the wall was done by Georgia Pounder who is only ten years old but gave a convincing but always annoying response to the Queen.  Another character that stood out not just for their performance but also for their appearance was the handsome Prince Fredrick, played by Ryleigh Oberholtzer. Ryleigh is sixteen going on thirty and the marriage of the Prince and Snow White, with a diamond the size of your fist, put the finishing touches on this really great show.  I cannot say enough about director Pat Rypien, who worked tirelessly, with admitted limited experience, to coordinate, promote, and direct this fun show.  And just to put a nice twist to it all Pat chose to introduce each night by appearing as “The Phantom of the Roxy”, complete with the phantom mask. 

The whole idea behind the Snow White production is to fundraise for the Roxy Restoration Project, the brainchild of the Crowsnest Cando Society. At the introduction to the performances on Saturday, Brian Dobek, a man well connected to the Roxy, spoke about the “Etch Your Name in History” project. It is a seat recognition campaign he is coordinating and is an opportunity for one to consider a seat donation that will sustain the theater. There will be a personalized name plate placed on the seat that one chooses from a seat map of 226 possibilities. There will also be a special plaque in the lobby where all donors’ names will appear as part of the acknowledgement process.  A seat donation entitles the donator to the right of first refusal on their seat for up and coming performances for a limited time prior to public sales.  Any amount can be donated, families may combine their efforts into a seat and as Brian put it, “A lot of littles will make a lot.” To donate a seat go to , click on seat recognition tab, download file, for assistance call Brian Dobek  at 403-952-7509

It is such an exciting project to imagine the Roxy back in business. Live theater, musicians from everywhere doing concerts, music festivals and special events. The list is endless and a first class theater with proper lighting and sound management is long overdue. Can you see yourself walking down the aisle of the Roxy to a brand new comfortable seat, possibly with your name on the back, and preparing to watch top notch entertainment. At the break you will be able to cross over next door to the Roxy West Building  through a special side door that will connect the Roxy to the beautifully refurbished West Block.  It has a large congregating area for the breaks, washrooms, offices, a green room for musicians and a kitchen. How exciting is that.

Next up for the Cando Restore the Roxy is the Saturday April 13th open house at Country Encounters. There over 40 spectacularly painted violins will be on display in the afternoon followed by a ticketed evening cocktail event with entertainment and an auction of the violins. Long Live the Roxy.

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