Snow Queen – York Theatre Royal

Mike Kenny’s modern interpretation of the classic Snow Queen story by Hans Christian Anderson is magical, engaging and full of humour and songs. Much of its charm is down to the inspired casting with Joanne Sandi playing the grandmother, numerous bit parts, and the mysterious Snow Queen. Hannah Victoria plays Gerda, a young girl who goes to rescue her best friend Kai and carries much of the story. They are ably assisted by Mitchel Wolfe making his professional debut, creating an engaging lost boy captured by the Snow Queen, and lots of comical pastiches along the way.

By Martin Frank

The cast were ready and waiting for the young audience as they entered greeting them, asking for names and making the whole experience comfortable from the start. The production set the scene perfectly, opening with a catchy song about the roses in Gerda’s Grandmothers garden. The young actors were perfectly childlike and played games that the children sitting around the studio theatre could identify with. They looked at the clouds and watched the world go by from the balcony where the roses were, with off stage sounds added to help complete the experience.

The quality of the writing, production and acting were of the highest calibre, easily drawing in both adults and children. This is a seventy-minute show, but its pace and slick scene changes kept the focus on the story as it unfolded. It’s a modern twist on an old tale and Kai quickly became lost in the snow before succumbing to the will of the Snow Queen. Gerda mounted an expedition to save her best friend and as she travelled met all sorts of unsavoury characters.

These are wonderful, brightly coloured, song-filled, dance- filled little stories of their own and not only added exciting, vibrant, humorous breaks from the main theme, but showed the range of abilities within this tiny cast to carry the plot and take it to warm dreamy places. The Snow Queen is historically a cold, dark story, a tale highlighting the ever-lasting battle between good and evil, however this interpretation had more fun and colour, whilst also retaining the essence of the original. It’s a must watch for primary aged children with plenty for the parents to enjoy too.