You can’t accuse Dundee Rep of not preparing for the future, with graduates and youth theatre workers occupying two of the leads and the six-strong chorus.
Combined with the experience of five of the ensemble, director Jemima Levick weaves a fascinating interpretation of Mike Kenny’s version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale.
Musical director Jon Beales has created a Christmassy melange to compensate for a dark introduction to the proceedings, but there are no toe-tapping melodies or audience participation to whip up a festive frenzy. Nevertheless, the youngsters in the audience were captivated throughout and expressed their delight when evil was finally vanquished.
An atmospheric setting by designer Lisa Sangster sets the tone - dark, foreboding woods a visual contrast to the bright village shops.
Molly Vevers (Gerda) and Martin McBride (Kai) look to have a future in the business with assured and enthusiastic performances. But the whole piece is held together by Granny, a busy and energetic evening for Ann Louise Ross in a host of disguises - the crow scene with John Buick is a hilarious aside from the more serious tasks at hand.
Emily Winter is the Snow Queen, a commanding presence as she carefully negotiates her way around on spring stilts, and Irene MacDougall also revels in a plethora of parts, her gender-challenged robber a particular highlight.