Lindsay Pearce and company
in A Snow White Christmas
(© Lythgoe Family Productions)
Lindsay Pearce and company
in A Snow White Christmas
(© Lythgoe Family Productions)
A Snow White Christmas, now at the El Portal Theater, is rather endearing, thanks mostly to The Glee Project's Lindsay Pearce in the title role. Indeed, if you bring your children and leave your cynicism at the door, it's a charming and airy entertainment.

The show, which has been created by Bonnie Lythgoe and son Kris, utilizes the British art of Panto theater, which combines childhood fairytales with modern rock songs and topical humor.The comedy never rises above late-career Mel Brooks movies; a few moments are inappropriate for young kids, and much of it is too sophomoric for adults.

But it's not about the script, it's about the kids booing the Queen, interactively screaming instructions to the characters, or waving to Snow White every time she arrives and singing the songs with the cast.

Pearce has a wonderful presence, an earthy charm, and her belting voice is used to fine effect on Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Katy Perry's "Fireworks."

Erich Bergen is darling as the flamboyant Prince Harry, playing a leading man with the same mock grandioseness as Lyle Waggoner did on The Carol Burnett Show. Meanwhile, via video screen, Neil Patrick Harris is at his smarmy best as the flippant but forcibly honest magic mirror.

Unfortunately, Marina Sirtis is stale as the wicked queen. She has none of the delicious villainy that would make the role work. Her number "Toxic" is fun, but her rendition of "Bad Things" (recognizable as the True Blood theme) is flat as is her joke delivery.

David Figlioli as the buffoonish huntsman and Jonathan Meza as the court jester are like dueling class clowns where a little bit goes a long way. Seven adorable moppets play the dwarfs, and talhough they're appropriately cute, the dwarfs' canned dialogue by adults with squeaky voices is cloying.

Most of the budget for the production appears to have been spent on the Magical Mirror, that projects not only Harris, but also Nigel Lythgoe. The rest of the sets never rise above the level of a high school production, but that kitsch actually works in the show's favor.