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The Snow Queen

by on 14 December 2019

An Amazing yet Warming Winter Story

The Snow Queen

by Ciaran McConville, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen

RTK and Rose Youth Theatre at The Rose Theatre, Kingston until 5th January

A review by Milly Stephens, one of our younger reviewers (aged 14)

This year’s Christmas show by the Rose Theatre Kingston, directed and written by Ciaran McConville, is an adaption of the classic story, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a girl called Gerda (Parisa Shahmir) and one of her close friends, Kai (Jack Wolfe) who have to fight to save the world from the Snow Queen and eternal winter.

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The action starts in a town called Evergreen where the elves are preparing gifts for Christmas, but one young girl called Joy (Emily Porter) finds a mysterious shard mirror which causes some of her older Elf friends to recount the tale of how the mirror came about. I thought that this was a creative and clever way to tell the story of Gerda and Kai, as the story is addressed to Joy on stage as well as the audience.

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This year was the first time for the Christmas show since the refurbishment of the auditorium which has restricted the use of the pit area, which has been used during pre-show in previous years. Even though this might potentially have prevented some interaction with the audience, the cast managed to interact with children in the audience by inviting them onto the stage to put a present in the pile which I thought was very creative direction by Ciaran McConville.

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Another special feature of previous years’ Rose Christmas productions has been the magical snow showers which have cascaded onto the audience during the performance, especially delighting the younger children who often sat on cushion seats in the pit area. No longer having the pit seating meant that they couldn’t sprinkle the ‘snow’ onto the audience, which was a slight shame, but I liked the artificial snow falling on the stage during the finale.

SnowQueen142The original songs written Eamonn O’Dwyer were powerful with lots of strong solos. I especially liked Progress, a song lead by Kai, about his dad’s less than successful inventions, which had some clever pyrotechnics that made it both funny yet moving at the same time.

Jack Wolfe and Parisa Shahmir played Kai and Gerda convincingly with strong voices and amazing emotion. They conveyed their strong emotions towards each other and SnowQueen3other characters. And it was very engaging for the audience as you felt their love towards each other was real. Parisa carried the story of her journey as her energy never faded and Jack supplied emotion and a switch in feelings. And Kai’s characters pulled on heart strings as he talked about wanting to bring his mum back. The pace and context of the story was well managed by the on-stage trio of narrators (Maisie Rodford, Jacob Towey and Daisy Tucker). But Bancu, led by Francis Redfern, stole the show with his amazing comic timing and animated voice. He made the audience laugh till they had stiches. Bancu, the reindeer, was a puppet which was pulled of amazingly. Also, Millie Brownhill gave an emotional and compelling performance as Edda which was particularly engaging and moved the audience with her bravery.

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Whether you are a grandfather or a granddaughter I’m sure that audiences of all ages will delight in this year’s amazing story telling and engaging show at the Rose theatre

Milly Stephens
December 2019

Photography by Mark Douet and Pam Wade

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