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NORTH LONDON’S small but elegant Park Theatre seems an unlikely venue to carry such a visually spectacular show as this adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
But director Abigail Anderson manages to pull off another successful Christmas show to add to the theatre’s impressive list.
Charles Way’s version brings life to Andersen’s classic about a young girl’s battle to save her best friend from the evil Snow Queen and the world from eternal winter, with plenty of original and punchy songs — far more understated than the usual brash Christmas musicals or pantomimes — maintaining momentum.
In a relatively small space, with the actors only feet away from the audience, set and costume designer Gregor Donnelly deploys few props but has managed to create an imaginative design which transforms into the various parts of the world during the different seasons Gerda encounters on her epic journey with ease.
Perhaps most spectacular of all is the Snow Queen’s Ice Palace, symbolised by the huge broken-mirror pieces dangling on the wall.
There are universally strong performances from the cast, with Esmonde Cole and Ayesha Casely-Hayford playing the equally charming Cei and Gerda respectively. They're never too over-the-top childish, while Frances Marshall’s Snow Queen is as icy and fiendish as you would expect.
There's a wonderful mix of fantasy, horror and wonder which makes Andersen’s classic so timeless and this adaptation is a heartwarming and fun treat which, unlike many Christmas shows, will entertain kids and grown-ups alike.
Runs until January 4, box office: parktheatre.co.uk
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