Tell Tale Hearts
TITLE: The Snow Queen
VENUE: Lawrence Batley Theatre
BY: Andrew Hirst
So to keep the children up on this it could really do with a narrator. There’s a presumption that the audience will automatically know who’s who in this fairy tale land. That said, there are some great scenes – a marvellous comic one in school with Derek Elwood hamming it up brilliantly as the school ma’am. He has a natural sense of comic timing, clear diction and get’s everyone involved – and I mean everyone.
Julia Gwynne does well on stilts to accentuate the Snow Queen’s quite literally towering presence while Jake England Johns’ natural sense of fun and sprightly stage presence gives it all an easy-going feel.
Hannah Waters is the company’s apprentice making her professional debut – but you’d not think that for a moment such is her confidence and Susan Hingley is great as Gerda.
Audience involvement is high on their priority list and they get kids out from their seats several times to pull them round on sledges (white sheets which also cleverly double as a white-out storm) and the luckiest ones become king and queen, treated with suitable reverence.
There’s some good ad-libbing. As a little girl came down from the balcony to play the princess the cast filled in the time be claiming she “had travelled from afar over mountains and lakes on a long, long journey’’ as she made her way down the stairs for her special moment.
Another great comic scene is a garden where the cast are transformed into flowers that are the chattering and squabbling classes in this fairytale land.
Sprinkled with a few songs it’s a heart-warming tale for a cold winter’s afternoon or evening, but tell your youngsters at least some of the story before they get there.
The Snow Queen is on this week at the LBT with performances at 2pm and 7pm today, Wednesday (British sign language at 7pm), Thursday and Friday and at 11am and 2pm on Christmas Eve.