The Snow Queen – Christmas at Northern Stage

Snow Queen
A frosty reception

The Snow queen – a modern look at an old favourite

A modern pick and mix version of the Snow Queen with occasional flashes of traditional magic. Northern Stage always has delightful imaginative costumes and a reliable lively cast. The lighting and clever stage design are consistent too. I loved the lit up umbrellas and the back lit window frames showing faces from the train and the houses of the town. I loved the Snow Queen herself and the giant reindeer puppet in the vein of Warhorse. Things on stage always picked whenever there was a flurry of snow.

I really wanted a lot more of those things and a lot less worthy convoluted agonising from our heroine Gerda. Poor Gerda was stuck with trying to keep the rambling tale on track while maintaining unrelenting cheerfulness.

Snow Queen
Gerda and her reindeer

It is hard to be original and Northern Stage always manage that. However, the lack of a strong narrative and weak songs let the hard working cast down rather.

Gregor Mackay with his great Gordon Sinclair-esque (Gregory’s Girl) face, is underused as Kai. And we just had to wait too long for the Snow Queen to turn up.

Snow Queen
Kai and his goldfish

The Snow Queen – a frosty lady

Elizabeth Carter makes a visually striking Snow Queen. The Queen has a fabulous white sparkly costume, with a smashing spiky hat. Sadly, she doesn’t get a  great deal of time to be a baddie and being the baddie is always the best part. Her frosty threat melts easily at the end with the administration of a half hearted hug. I heard a little girl next to me say’ well what happened to the Snow Queen then?’ ‘She got warmed up,’ was the parental explanation.

Paula Penman as Elsie Orr was a very entertaining bossy headmistress of the school in the town of Stifle. A repressed sort of place where wishes are discouraged and rules very strict. Miss Orr advocates ‘no celebrating above the shoulder – it’s not a carnival,’ which made me giggle. There needed to be a lot more lines of this ilk to lift the piece which is just a bit too long..

Snow Queen
Into the snow!!

The Snow Queen – too easily thawed

Northern Stage’s adaptation of this classic fairy tale is a mixed bag of surefire hits, but a few misses too..

I went to the matinee where there were a lot of very small children whom I thought were remarkably well behaved. They did get restless towards the end though. I thought the story was probably rather confusing for the under fives and perhaps more suitable for a slightly older age group.

The original Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow queen is quite an involved dark tale. The story is in several chapters and is not easy to adapt. However, the starting point of any play needs to be a rock solid script and this one was a little bit crumbly. The Snow Queen is on at Northern Stage until January 4th. Tickets here.

Check out my review of ballet Lorent’s Lost Happy Endings here 

Snow Queen
The inhabitants of Stifle

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