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Theatre Review: The Snow Queen ****

Michael Cox reviews 'an utter delight from the start'.

Based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic, Morna Young’s adaptation of The Snow Queen moves the dramatic action to Edinburgh in the Victorian era and finds perhaps a few too many occasions to stuff the production with Scottish cultural riffs but keeps the basics intact.

Director Cora Bissett’s production works a treat, keeping the pace quick and teetering the production between comedy and drama with ease. There are a lot of visual flourishes that enchant, and the production is filled with wonderful songs throughout (Finn Anderson composing, Young and Anderson writing lyrics).

It is, however, the cast that truly make the production shine. Rosie Graham’s Gerda is a hero easy to root for: driven to do good but happy to live in the moment and relish the adventure at hand in saving her friend Kei. The rest of the company are equally solid and play multiple roles effectively, though Richard Conton is a particular standout when playing the scene-stealing Hamish the Unicorn, while Samuel Pashby has a lot of fun throughout as Corbie, who may or may not be in league with the dreaded Snow Queen (Claire Dargo—relishing the villainous role by playing it straight).

The Snow Queen is an utter delight from the start and manages to be that rare gem: a magical Christmas production that relies on plot, character and heart instead of desperate shenanigans to please its audience.

The Snow Queen performs at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh until December 31, 2023.

Tags: theatre

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