This production met some of these challenges magnificently, while falling foul of others. It's a lavish, technically adapt production which wows with effects and fantastic stage design. The Snow Queen herself is a puppet, and a rather scary one. There's goblins and turtles and reindeer and talking parrots and various sub-stories of the main adventure, all created in neat little scenarios, which in their own right are funny and engaging. The costumes are great, the music brilliant, the design amazing.
|Photo (c) Mark Douet/BOV|
And yet, even as an adult, there's so many twists and turns it's hard to keep up with the story. This wasn't helped by the theatre makers adding another layer, in which the lead male character is clearly having gender issues and nobody in the village understands him, because y'know, they're peasants. The central relationship between the boy and girl characters is redrawn as 'friendship' in which they 'love each other as they are' blah blah. Because having a boy and a girl whose love overcomes evil in a happy ending is obviously too heteronormative these days. There was also a cringy scene in which the supporting characters recap what the heroine learned as a person on her journey, as if there's some sort of Oftsed review due and they're afraid she might not have met her key learning outcomes. It was so Peak Guardian, I can't even.
Anyway, apart from that there were lots of things to enjoy. What there wasn't, in my opinion, was enough snow. I wanted a bit more peril, a bit more cold, a bit more ice and sparkling frostiness, a bit more Northern European menace. The best bits were with the actual Snow Queen, who was genuinely scary. I know I'm old now but when I was a kid, being forced to consider a bleak wasteland of Scandinavian hopelessness was thought to be good for your education. Meh. All in all, could have done with a bit more Scandi-noir, a bit less Generation Snowflake. Also: MOAR CHRISTMAS.
(Can I get a job for the Daily Mail, yet?)