Review: Let it Snow! Hertford Theatre's Frozen fairytale is 'a slick, superior production'
PUBLISHED: 10:04 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 10 December 2019
Laura Adams reviews The Snow Queen, this year's Christmas show at Hertford Theatre.
As Frozen fever grips the nation's young children once again, it is timely that The Snow Queen should be the festive showcase for Hertford Theatre this Christmas.
This 19th century fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen was the source of inspiration for the Disney mega-hit franchise, which saw the release of its much-anticipated sequel in November.
But there is no Elsa or Anna in this performance as the original tale centres around the relationship between two friends Kay and Gerda.
However, the central themes are the same - the struggle between good and evil and the importance of true love and friendship - which give this heart-warming story its emotional core.
The Snow Queen begins with Kay and Gerda being separated when the former is tempted to a life full of riches by the evil, hypnotic, Snow Queen who proceeds to lead him along the icicle path to her castle where she intends to imprison him.
On realising her friend's fate, Gerda vows to follow them and bring him to safety.
As her journey plays out on the stage, we see her meet several characters who have themselves been subject to their own fairy tales including the Big Bad Wolf, The Old Woman Who Lives In A Shoe and the Gingerbread Witch.
This being a family show, the performance is packed full of infectious singing and dancing with wide-ranging popular music for all ages from George Ezra to the Rolling Stones and Keane to Hairspray.
As with all pantomimes, the trick is to bridge the generational divide and appeal to the interests of both young and old.
If there is one criticism, it would be that the script lacked the 'knowing' adult in-jokes which give traditional pantomimes an edge.
That said, there was so much more to hold interest - notably the rock and roll era inspired Jack Frost (an ally of the evil Queen) and the Gingerbread Witch.
There were some relevant, grown-up messages in there too, such as the feminist number between would-be runaway bride Rose and Gerda.
The performances from the cast, particularly the vocals, were hugely impressive - the spine-tingling version of Defying Gravity from the Snow Queen and Kay was one of the best I've heard.
The actors themselves are convincing and likeable, notably Lauren Jacobs and Josh Dorn in the lead roles Gerda and Kay.
The comic turns from the troupe of magpies, who held the narrative together and led the audience participation, were also excellent.
This was a slick, superior production from Hertford Theatre that kicked off the festive season with aplomb.
I would highly recommend for all the family.
● The Snow Queen can be seen at Hertford Theatre until Wednesday, January 1.
For tickets, call the box office on 01992 531500 or book online at hertfordtheatre.com