part 1 | part 2)
Length: 46 minutes
Reader: Seeing Ear Theatre cast
The story: Neil Gaiman has a fascination with the dark side of fairy tales. He has explored this theme in his novel American Gods, his comic series Sandman and returns to the theme again in this story. "Snow Glass Apples" retells the story of Snow White, but from the perspective of the stepmother queen.
This is not the Disney cartoon; Gaiman invokes every taboo of our society: incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, torture, and murder by children. I was disturbed enough that several times during the story that I had to stop the recording. The story that Gaiman weaves is so intriguing that I had to settle myself down and continue listening. This is what horror is: the fascination of looking into the darkest aspects of humankind even when we almost can't stand to look.
The readers: This story is mostly narrated by the queen, played by Bebe Neuwirth, the actress best known for her portrayal of Dr. Fraiser Crane's ex-wife Lilith on Fraiser and Cheers. She brings a steely sneer to the role, but is engaging enough to not push the listener away. Other characters are voiced by additional actors, all of high enough quality to complement the talents of the lead actress, though none particularly stood out for me. The music and sound effects contribute to the eerie mood of the story. Overall, this is a wonderfully done production that really enhances Gaiman's storytelling.