The Snow Dog

You don’t expect adults to be as excited as the children when waiting to see a kids show at the fringe. But that certainly is the case whilst queueing for Full House’s The Snow Dog. “Did you hear there’s a real dog?” adults ask each other, delightedly. “I met him in the courtyard, he’s beautiful. I can’t wait.”

A lovely and moving production, which kept its young audience enthralled from start to finish.

Luckily, The Snow Dog has other charms than just a real Siberian husky, who actually only makes an appearance right at the end of the production. The Snow Dog, directed by Harriet Hardie, is the story of Evie (Charlotte Chinn) and a magical adventure she takes across the world with Kanook (Colin Burnicle), a Siberian husky, to learn about her beloved grandfather’s life. Her grandfather is an old explorer and storyteller who loves his granddaughter, Evie, ‘right to her bones.’ With the help of Kanook and a colourful cast of international characters, Evie learns about love, loss and her family.

The show opens at the start of the holidays and Evie and her family have a list of chores they need to get done before visiting grandfather. The opening number is full of energetic fun and immediately captivated both young and old in the audience. Music by Rebecca Applin is upbeat and lovely and the script by Sarah Nelson charts a sympathetic tale of bereavement and mourning, pitched at just the right level for the younger members of the audience. Chinn is delightful as Evie and Burnicle creates a magical physicality appropriate to his magical, speaking dog character. Performers Rebecca Bailey and Ben Hammond complete the small cast and fill out the rest of the story, niftily switching between members of Evie’s family and a host of other crazy characters, with the help of amusing costumes by Keith Orton and wonderfully enchanting masks by Mike Bell. My personal favourite was the ingenious creation of a huge kangaroo, played by Hammond, on bouncy stilts. The real Siberian husky, when he makes his appearance at the end, is, of course, utterly gorgeous.

I feel there were potentially some problems in the portrayal of other cultures in this production and in the quest for humour, characters occasionally veered into broad racial stereotypes. This was unlikely to have bothered any of the young audience, but however I do feel that it is something that parents should be aware of when taking their children along.

In spite of this very adult concern, The Snow Dog was a lovely and moving production, which kept its young audience enthralled from start to finish. And if that wasn’’t enough, everyone is invited to meet the husky afterwards. 

Reviews by Jenny Williams

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The Blurb

This fun and uplifting show is a poignant and playful exploration of love and loss for children and their families. Full House Theatre fuses music, song, dance and puppetry to create children’s theatre at its spellbinding best. The story follows a young girl’s journey around the world as she discovers her grandfather’s magical past as an arctic explorer. The show also features a real life Siberian Husky! Age guide 6+. ‘Imaginative and ingenious’ (Stage).

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