The Snow Queen – New Vic
With Christmas just around the corner what better time of year to indulge in the New Vic’s latest Christmas extravaganza; The Snow Queen.
With the last three years having seen the New Vic present 101 Dalmations, The Borrowers and Robin Hood and Marian, this latest ice-cold adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale is a festive treat that will capture the hearts of both old and young audiences alike.
Christmas time at the theatre can bring with it a whole host of traditional tales turned into raucous pantomimes, but the New Vic never fail to take a well-known story and create a truly unbelievable spectacle that audiences will remember for years to come.
Theresa Heskins (New Vic Artistic Director) has adapted and directed this production that follows the story of best friends Gerda and Kai. When Kai disappears after playing on the frozen lake Gerda, an intelligent young girl with a love for books, is the only one who believes that he has been taken by the Snow Queen. Her determination to find her best friend sees her travel through many different lands and seasons meeting a whole host of interesting and unusual characters along the way.
The 12 strong cast – complete with 3 teams of 8 young company members – deliver the show superbly with each actor flitting between characters seamlessly. The New Vic always sees talented, strong actors tread their boards and this show was certainly no exception. Each gifted actor could sing, rollerblade and play a musical instrument.
James Atherton has composed and directed the music for this production that sees the actors faultlessly change between acting as their character one minute and then picking up an instrument to continue the musical accompaniment the next.
Natasha Davidson is strong as the main character Gerda who is on stage for the majority of the show and has a beautiful singing voice. It is truly difficult to pick out certain cast members as every performer had stand out moments as different characters.
Lizzie Franks has a particularly memorable scene in Act 2 as the Clever Princess who helps Gerda on her mission to find Kai. The entire concept of that scene from the way it was set up and acted out to the costumes that the characters were wearing was fantastic and was almost like watching a play within a play.
There are certain moments where Theresa Heskins creates truly outstanding pieces of theatre that are spectacles in their own right. Without wanting to spoil the show, these moments are sprinkled throughout and are an absolute theatrical treat.
The set by Laura Clarkson is beautifully assembled and is based on books, from giant ones that the cast can stand on to tiny ones that props are concealed in, and paper craft inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s own hobby of origami. There is clever use of lighting throughout the piece from intelligent floor designs that aid in telling the story to the bright light used to illuminate the Snow Queens Palace.
And that brings me to the main woman herself, The Snow Queen, played by Polly Lister who is no stranger to the New Vic Theatre. Polly has previously appeared in 101 Dalmations and The Borrowers and is chilling as the icy Snow Queen. Her spectacular costume, multi-layered performance and the piercing look in her eyes makes her the perfect portrayal of the Snow Queen.
The New Vic create their own set, their own costumes, use original music and have here a unique adaptation that has not been staged anywhere other than at this theatre and it is a thing of beauty.
The show goes from strength to strength, culminating in a breathtaking finale that will leave you in awe.
The Snow Queen plays the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme until 28th January 2017. To view performance times and to book tickets, visit the New Vic Theatre website.