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The Snow Queen

November 2017 saw the Stratford ArtsHouse Drama Club take to the stage with their production of The Snow Queen, a famous tale adapted for the stage by Sarah Plowright and directed by Aaron Bixley. With the success of this drama club’s rendition of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe last year expectations were high and this talented youth group didn’t disappoint. The production itself used tremendous lighting effects, well-tailored props and costumes, and examples of shadow-work and silhouetting behind the projection screen which certainly added much creative flair.

The Snow Queen is an original fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, it was first published in 1844 and has been retold and adapted in various ways ever since; the story centres on the struggle between the good and evil traits of humankind, with a young boy, Kai, and a young girl, Gerda, at the heart of it.

The production began with the telling of how the ‘troll-mirror’, a device used by Berglemir, King of the Jotnar Trolls, to reflect evil into the hearts of all those that gaze upon it, came to shatter into a billion pieces. Alexander Fox was a strong presence on stage and believable in his regally evil role, along with Jake McCarthy as Jack Frost and Mac Izaak as Blizzard who also portrayed their roles with great believability.

Next, we were centred around a quaint little town where Kai and Gerda live next door to each other, and play as if they were siblings. Both children are watched over by Nanette, a role undertaken by Catalina Chavez, both her and Gerda gave the first show-stopping moment of the night with their duet of Where You’re With Me; together they offered incredible voices and harmonised perfectly. Kai, performed confidently by Archie Guck, is soon enticed by the Snow Queen who has a quest that she needs him to complete; to gather all of the shattered pieces of the mirror. Molly Harper took on the title role with assured ability and captured the audience with her movement and ‘ice-like’ charm whenever she appeared on stage.

Once Kai is within her grasp, the Snow Queen whisks him away to her land never to be seen again. However, Gerda, played with astounding capability by Eleanor Coggins, doesn’t give up hope of finding Kai and goes off on a whirlwind adventure in search of him. It is along this journey that she meets several friends and foes; one worthy of special mention is, Isabel Lambourn, who stepped into the role of ‘Crow’ and made this character quite the centrepiece of the tale; her movement, body language and facial expressions throughout the production were the perfect embodiment of the character who was most loyal to Gerda during her endeavour.

Thankfully, Gerda eventually finds Kai and rescues him from the Snow Queen solely by the love and loyalty in her heart; it may have been a ‘Frozen’ tale, but the audience left with nothing but warmth in their hearts from this beautifully illustrated story of courage and friendship. Review by Lee Holt, Pulse Productions

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