by Emma Reeves inspired by Arthur Ransome’s adaptation of The Little Daughter of the Snow.
Tour to 5 March 2016.
Review: Carole Woddis 16 January at Lyric Studio Hammersmith.
Happily joyful, with surprises in surprising places
"Wishing is only the beginning," sing the cast of tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal’s charming show for 3+, from the Arthur Ransome short story based on the Russian folktale, ‘The Little Daughter of the Snow’.
A more world weary version of this might take us into `Beware of what you wish for, it might just happen’ territory. But happily no such forebodings appeared on the horizon in this appropriately wintery show that kept an audience of under-5s in the Lyric’s Studio well entertained – indeed so involved, it was all too much for some when grizzly bear growled through the auditorium and my young companion cupped her hands to her ears whilst another wailed and had to be taken out.
Such is the power of the imagination and early suspension of disbelief, for your grizzly bear was only one of the actors – and actually the one playing a lovely Dad – clad in a rough brown rug. There is nothing, too, in Snow Child, unlike Grimm’s fairy-tales, to cast a shadow or disturb the young for too long.
Indeed, the message of this Snow Child, adapted by Emma Reeves (of Hetty Feather, Carrie’s War and CBBC’s Eve series fame) is essentially one of safety – the safety of the family home. Again, the adult within might quibble, knowing as we do, the potential of `the family unit’ to set up nuclear reactions in terms of later-
But that is all in the future. Here, backed by Oliver Birch’s delightful music, tutti frutti’s production provides the trio of Mei Mac (a gamine Snow Child), Paula James and Mark Pearce with an inventive space in which to act out the story of two worlds clashing – Snow Child’s animal and forest world with her best friend, Fox – and the childless couple whose powerful desire for a child transforms a snow child into human form.
Lots of scope here for commentary on humans – and parents – from a child and non-human point of view and not missed by director Wendy Harris. Most affectingly perhaps is its ultimate message of family harmony coming from acceptance of imperfectability on both sides. Now, that is useful.
Snow Child: Mei Mac.
Mother: Paula James.
Father: Mark Pearce.
Director: Wendy Harris.
Designer: Kate Bunce.
Lighting: Zanna Woodgatel.
Composer: Oliver Birch.
Movement Director: Joanne Bernard.
13 Feb 1.30pm, 4pm Palace Theatre Westcliff-on-Sea (Dixon Studio) 01702 351135 www.southendtheatres.org.uk
14 Feb 12pm, 3pm Jackson’s Lane Highgate 020 8341 4421 www.jacksonslane.org.uk
15 Feb 11am Bridport Arts Centre 01308 472183 www.bridport-arts.com
17 Feb 11.30am, 2.30pm The Hat Factory Luton 01582 878100 www.lutonculture.com/hat-factory
18 Feb 1.30pm, 5pm Redbridge Drama Centre 020 8708 8803 www.redbridgedramacentre.co.uk
19-20 Feb 2pm Mat Sat 11am Warwick Arts Centre (Studio) 024 7652 4524 www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
23 Feb-6 Mar Tue-Thu; Sat 11am, 1.30pm; Fri 1.30pm, 6pm York Theatre Royal (Ballroom) 01904 623568 www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk