The Snow Queen

This new version sees Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale transported to Scotland with a race against time covering the length of the land to vanquish the evil Snow Queen. Morna Young’s adaptation, directed by Cora Bissett, has Scots mythology and language tightly woven together to tell the story.

Visually stunning, the classic fairy tale is transported to Scotland

The scene is initially set with shadowplay and narration, beginning the tale, which is buried in the mists of time, of the Snow Queen’s avowed aim of subjecting the world to constant winter.

Our young heroine is Gerda whose best pal Kei is kidnapped by the Queen from his Edinburgh home and taken north to her kingdom.

Emily James’ set is a tour de force; she carries the gorgeous gold and blue balconies of the auditorium right onto the stage where they both conjure up various aspects of the action and create different levels. In the opening sequences Edinburgh Castle is right at the top as we meet the characters below.

Gerda and Kei’s happy life is soon disrupted by the arrival of the Snow Queen with a fanfare of noise and ice-bright light. The evil one kidnaps Kei and then the pursuit is on as Gerda (Rosie Graham) heads north to get Kei back, travelling through a range of Scottish terrain from seaside to mountain.

Rosie Graham excels as Gerda, a bonnie fechter who overcomes whatever is thrown at her. And in this production, sisters are doing it for themselves as Gerda has a challenging broadsword fight with Naomi Stirrat’s Senga.

Graham is also comfortable in the Scots tongue although the youngsters next to me declared to parents that they did not understand. The mythical approach using the Scots language would appear to initially appeal to an older audience but along Gerda’s journey some funny types pop up to get the younger children laughing.

There is Hamish The Unicorn (Richard Conlon giving it all he’s got), a camp creature with some saucy comments to spice things up. He divides the audience down the middle to sing a song about himself, a drop of panto in a serious story-telling session.

Claire Dargo as the Snow Queen looks and sounds wonderful, beautifully clad by designer Emily James, she has an apposite malign stage presence. This proved to be a bit much for some of the children as the wean next to me declared “She’s scary, really scary.’’

There are moments when the show loses momentum and it is overlong but visually it is stunning.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

By Hans Christian Andersen, adapted by Morna Young.Directed by Cora Bissett

Following classic Christmas production of An Edinburgh Christmas Carol the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh presents a brand new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen for Christmas 2023.

Aince upon a time, in a world lang forgotten, strange creatures roamed the land...

When the beautiful and fearsome Snow Queen steals young Kei away to her frozen kingdom, she leaves behind the brave and brilliant Gerda, an Edinburgh lass who will stop at nothing to rescue her best friend.

But the Snow Queen has lodged shards of her magical ice into Kei’s heart, turning him cold and mean. Can Gerda, with the help of friends she meets along the way, track her pal through the magical, wintery world of the Snow Queen and melt his frozen heart before it’s too late?

Join us for a beautiful, festive and musical adventure as we follow young Gerda on her quest to save Kei, and the world, from an eternal winter. Snow, songs, ice palaces, and a dazzling pink unicorn awaits!

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