THE SNOW QUEEN
by Bryony Lavery.
Chichester Festival Theatre Oaklands Park PO19 6AP To 31 December 2009.
27 Dec 4pm, 28 Dec 4pm, 29 Dec 2 pm/7.30 pm, 30 Dec 2pm/7:30 pm, 31 Dec 2pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 1243 781312.
Review Mark Courtice 23 December.
Cleverly written, lavishly produced – a proper show for Christmas
This lavish Youth Theatre production of Bryony Lavery’s new version of The Snow Queen is a proper show; no allowances need be made for the young performers or for seasonal foolishness.
Cleverly written to be fun for the young to both play and watch, skillfully produced, and acted with commitment and charm, this is an entertaining and satisfying night at the theatre for all ages.
The story of the Snow Queen is here cast as a cross-generational adventure in Lavery’s complex and witty script; Kay and Gerda, young friends on the cusp of being a couple, need the help of Grannies and Grandads, as well as a charming Reindeer, as Gerda chases through the snow to find Kay after he has been abducted by the Snow Queen. Interesting ideas and genuine emotions including young love, respect, looking after the environment, and the peril facing bees, are explored with sensitivity, but without solemnity.
The young company have strength in depth; things are clear, emotionally and vocally. There are some lovely performances, particularly from those playing the oldies. Sam O’Hanlon makes an engaging Grandad Sun, while we really care about Heidi Pointet’s Granny Snow. Of the youngsters Beatrice Holland’s Gerda is a real character, especially in her very funny encounter with Victoria Spurway’s beastly Robber Girl in the “most nightmarish teenage bedroom on the planet”.
The show sounds great. Jason Carr’s constantly interesting and attractive score is given depth by the band of six. The cast all sing well and some are quite excellent, so the witty lyrics are given their best chance.
Production standards are really high. The costumes are fun, well made and there are lots of them; the set cleverly makes space for the huge cast, but there’s also room for some magical effects, using revolves. James Whiteside’s lighting animates the cold world of the Snow Queen with lively colour and projections.
Directors Dale Rooks and Abigail Graham have done an excellent job, marshalling the huge cast with fluid skill, and also playing tactfully to the strengths of his young performers, while Imogen Knight’s choreography taps their youthful energy.
Bee: Lucy Anderson.
Jon-Stuart Annett, Kay (Child/Bulldog on alternate nights),
Snow Queen: Lucy Baldwin.
Durda/Sightseer: Jonathan Ball.
Grandad/Bulldog: Joel Banks.
Ice Warrior (Guard): Katie Bennett.
Robber: Charlie Bentley.
Icicle/Ice Warrior: Helena Berry.
Shard/Ice Warrior: Jonny Boultwood.
Ice Warrior (Guard): Rob Brooks.
Bee: Alice Bugeja.
Nerda/Robber: Ellie Bulpett.
Birda/Sightseer: Freddie Burgess.
Bee: Becky Cartey.
Slide/Ice Warrior: Carmen Casal-Lopez.
Crystal/Ice Warrior: Poppy Crawford.
Jay/Robber: Fred Davis.
Ray/Sightseer: Alwyn Davies-Ebsworth.
Granny Snow (Granny/Paparazzi on alternate nights): Twyla Doone.
Bee: Ben Duncan-Dougall.
Granny/Paparazzi/Finn Woman in Act II: Emily Dyble:
Bee: Bronte Elsom.
Granny/Sightseer: Giselle Elsom.
Grandad/Lapp Grandad in Act II: Edward Eustace.
Bee: Nathaniel Farah.
Kay (Child/Bulldog on alternate nights): Ben Geering.
Grandad/Paparazzi: Ollie Geering.
Bee: Helena Giudici.
Hail/Ice Warrior (Guard): Nick Hanan.
Grandad/Paparazzi: Grant Harris.
Granny/Pigeon: Charlotte Higlett.
Bee: Emily Higlett.
Gerda (Child/Pigeon on alternate nights): Bea Holland.
Princess/Pigeon; Freya Holland.
Bee: Romina Hytten-Fowkes.
Blizzard/Ice Warrior: Joe James.
Professor Storm: Fleur Jeffries.
Grandad/Robber Dad: Stevie Jeram.
Fay/Sightseer: Laura Kane.
Granny/Sightseer: Ruby Kane.
North Pole/Ice Warrior: Fergus Levey.
South Pole/Ice Warrior: Kristian Linger-Madsen.
Granny/Sightseer: India Loseby.
Bee: Winnie Loseby.
Grandad/Reindeer: Will McGovern.
Granny/Paparazzi: Rhiannon Merrifield.
Snowball/Ice Warrior: Holly Mirams.
Grandad/Dorian: Felix Moose.
Frostbite/Ice Warrior: Jack Northeast.
Gerda (Child/Pigeon on alternate nights): Alice O’Hanlon.
May/Sightseer: Megan O’Hanlon.
Grandad Sun: Sam O’Hanlon.
Bee: Micha Oates.
Grandad/Prince: Sam Peake.
Granny/Paparazzi: Molly Peel.
Granny/Paparazzi: Bella Peniston.
Granny Snow (Granny/Paparazzi on alternate nights): Heidi Pointet.
Bee: Joseph Porter.
Day/Robber: Timothy Porter.
Granny/Robber Mum: Katie Silverson.
Robber: Zac Simonsen-Burt.
Robber Girl: Victoria Spurway.
Pigeon: Jessica Tee.
Glitterball/Ice Warrior: Amy Thair.
Grandad/Paparazzi: Ben Thair.
Granny/Pigeon: Beth Thomson-Gammack.
Murda/Sightseer: Bradley Trevethan.
Bee: Jane Turville.
Bee: Fran Vawdrey.
Ice Warrior (Guard): Elyssia White.
Grandad/Bulldog: Edward White.
Grandad/Bulldog: Luke White.
Keyboard Jenny Gould.
Percussion Martin Briggs.
Horn Kevin Elliot.
Keyboard Jeremy Cooke.
Clarinet/Saxophones/Orchestral Management Mark Lacey.
‘Cello Natalie Rozario.
Directors: Dale Rooks/Abigail Graham.
Designer: Simon Higlett.
Lighting: James Whiteside.
Sound: Jonathan Suffolk.
Musical Director: Jenny Gould.
Choreographer: Imogen Knight.
Costume: Amy Jackson.