AT this time of year, even the more sober-minded shows play to the gallery with fart gags and slapstick. The distinguishing characteristic of Jemima Levick's production of The Snow Queen, by contrast, is just how seriously it takes the classic tale. Her staging has warmth and humour but, as any child in the audience will tell you, the stakes are too high to waste time clowning around.
He is also sensitive to the way fairytales enlist animals to help the young heroine. Ann Louise Ross exudes wisdom and hope as she morphs from grandmother to snowman, sunflower, crow and penguin, guiding Gerda on her journey to rescue Kai. Played by Molly Vevers, Gerda is wholesome, vulnerable and determined, and we never doubt the danger and importance of her task.
As Emily Winter's creepily seductive Snow Queen pounds the stage on stilts, leaving Martin McBride's Kai mesmerised, we are so gripped by the adventure that the merry, Slava's Snowshow-style finale almost seems like a distraction.
© Mark Fisher, 2012 (pic: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)
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