8 December 2019

The Snow Queen - Northern Stage

I always enjoy the Christmas play at Northern Stage. It's always different and creative and a good contrast to the more traditional pantomimes that are here, there and everywhere at this time of year. The Snow Queen, based on a story by fairytale king Hans Christian Anderson and adapted by Laura Lindow is about as far away from traditional as you can get!

The Snow Queen Northern Stage

The action takes places in Stifle, a bizarre town where the inhabitants have barricaded themselves behind a wall to protect themselves from the threat of storms, oceans and worse of all, snow. The set is amazing, a wooden 'maze' which even has a piano suspended from the ceiling and was inspired by the British seaside. I was also struck by the Scandi-type costumes of the cast, which were simple yet really effective. At the heart of the story is Gerda (played with the perfect amount of childlike wonder by Lauren Waine), a girl who lost her mum when she was young and lives with her fearful Dad. Then she meets Kai (Gregor Mackay) and goes on an epic adventure to rescue him from evil The Snow Queen (Elizabeth Carter - who has a really good voice).

The Snow Queen Northern Stage
The magnificent set
The play is full of eccentric characters, including the hilarious and Miss Trunchbull-like teacher Elsie Orr (Paula Penman), the snow-fearing Mr Kelpine (Craig Fairbairn) and the American multi-instrumentalist Liletta (Dr G. Hannabiell Sanders). Most of the cast can play numerous instruments (including Jeremy Bradfield who plays Gerda's Dad) and music plays such a big part in the production as a whole.

Elizabeth Carter as The Snow Queen
Kai ends up losing his childhood self after being struck by splinters in his eye and heart (which makes him see only what is wrong in the world and turns his heart to ice), before the Snow Queen lures him away. In the second half (which I enjoyed more than the first) Gerda goes on a quest to find Kai where she meets a larger than life reindeer, a wise old crone and a beautiful rose, picking up lots of wisdom along the way. The characters reminded me of some of the Alice in Wonderland cast. Thankfully the Snow Queen gets her comeuppance, and we're reminded of the importance on not giving up on people you love.

Gerda and the Reindeer
After initially struggling to get into the story I ended up being transported to the magical world which was so lovingly created by the cast and crew to bring the fairy tale to life. I was seriously impressed with the creativity and the commitment of everyone involved to create a strange and mystical world where the power of friendship is paramount.

*I received two tickets in exchange for a review

Buy tickets for The Snow Queen at Northern Stage here 

No comments:

Post a Comment