Production company ‘This Is My Theatre’ is staging Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen at historical venues this season which only enhances this charmingly lovely performance.
On entering Priory Church of St Mary in Bungay we are greeted with the cast’s musical talents. They were singing and playing beautiful celestial sounding music with medieval tones. Once the audience were in and settled, the play began.
A girl is out collecting wood and come across a stranger who tells her a story of the devil, goblins and a mirror so full of dark power it only reflected the bad and ugly side of things. It shattered and the pieces were scattered across the earth.
Then he tells the girl of Gerda and Kai who grew up living next door to each other and were the best of friends. One day a shard of the mirror enters Kai’s eye and he becomes mean and cruel towards everyone and is only interested in snowflakes, however Gerda, full of love, remained friends and believed in him. One day Kai is sledding in the snow and ties himself to a mysterious white sleigh to get some speed up, however the sleigh belongs to the Snow Queen who kisses him twice. This puts him under her spell where he forgets about home and she steals him away to her palace. Everyone in the town thinks Kai died in the river.
Gerda offers her red shoes to the river in exchange for information about Kai, which the river gives. Gerda goes out to look for him and this is where the adventure begins! She asks everyone and everything – including the flowers, the animals and the birds. Gerda comes across a magical garden, a crow, a prince & princess, robbers, and reindeer that gives her a ride. She faces danger and adversity however Gerda manages to overcome these and everyone helps her with her quest of finding Kai.
Kai is found and Gerda’s tears melt the shard of the mirror which runs out of his eye and he becomes happy again as the spell is broken and they manage to get back home. The reason Gerda managed to obtain the help is due her strength and her power which comes from her pure innocence and love. This is the moral of this fairy tale about good overcoming evil.
The adaptation of this fairy tale from This Is My Theatre is magical in itself. This beautiful performance is memorising and within the historical venues makes it spell binding.
You were drawn into the story immediately and the five actors who played multiple characters were instantly engaging. The use of sound, whether voices or interesting instruments, for scene changes or background ‘music’ was superb and added to the quality of the performance.
Everything is kept simple, touring to different unusual venues, you certainly need to keep things simple and easy – there are no back-stage lighting, rigs and fancy props to tap into. Every prop in this performance is efficient in it’s simplicity yet incredibly effective. Being a fairy tale with fantastical and magical moments, it must be difficult to portray with no special effects however the use of costume and simple props was amazingly imaginative. The portrayal of the Snow Queen was wonderfully enchanting.
This production company never fail to impress with their performances. Every moment has been thought about to bring joy to the audience. Highly recommended.