There’s nothing quite like closing your eyes and feeling yourself swept away by the sounds of wind and trees and birds chirping, as two people race along on horseback through dense underbrush.
It’s the kind of all-immersive production you can lose yourself in.
That was the feeling the producers of Snow White were going for when they released the hour-long audiobook in late 2016, the latest offering from Chatham’s Voices in the Wind Audio Theatre. Only a few months after its release the production was featured in AudioFile Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of Portland, Maine, with rave reviews echoing online sentiment.
“Snow White is our first review in AudioFile Magazine,” said David Farquhar, producer with Voices in the Wind. “I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and then the reaction you get, especially when you get a really good review … it makes it worthwhile.”
The new adaptation of Snow White goes further than the classic Disney version, adding tidbits about the time period itself. One reviewer said it had a “geopolitical background to it”, even though the audiobook is accessiby for children and adults alike.
The AudioFile review specifically singled out Chatham’s Mary Ellin [Herder] for her part of the Evil Queen, saying her “harsh voice and disturbing crackle are spot on.”
It was Herder’s first voice acting role in years. According to the actor, who also runs the local Take a Bow Productions, she was not entirely intending to get back into audio.
Then she saw an audition notice for Snow White in a local paper.
“This is a role that I’ve always wanted to voice,” she said. “Years back we produced Snow White with Take a Bow Productions … I knew then, and that was ten years ago, what I wanted. If I was not directing I would have gone right in for it.”
“The audition was great,” she added. “I thought if I get the part, bonus. If not, just to do it [would be enough].”
The audiobook was adapted by London’s Diane Vanden Hoven and directed by Laura Van Veen. It starred Herder as the Evil Queen, James Hebblethwaite as Udo the Huntsman, Brady Van Vaerenbergh as Ragnar the Raven, and Georgia Lee Schultz as Snow White.
It was not the first time Farquhar had worked with Schultz. The Toronto actor played the lead part in Voices in the Wind’s 2013 recording of Alice and Wonderland, also adapted by Vanden Hoven.
Voice actors recorded separately for the most part, except for Schultz and Herder.
“It’s really neat to work with actors that have that ability, where you can just … give them a little push and let it go,” Farquhar said.
Snow White is available as a physical disk or digitally. It can be found on iTunes, on Amazon, and in Chapters and Indigo locations. For more information go to voicesinthewind.ca.
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