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The Snow Queen review at The Royal Lyceum Edinburgh

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There is a frisson of magic to Mark Thomson’s production of Stuart Paterson’s Snow Queen for the Royal Lyceum, the feeling that all you see on stage is real. In his slight updating and re-emphasising of the plot, Paterson allows menace to lurk, dangerously in the prefatory confrontation between Allison McKenzie’s Snow Queen and Leo Wringer’s Bhima, the sun magician.

If anything might happen on stage, when the action later tumbles through the fourth wall, it truly brings the audience into its realm. The reality of Helen Mackay’s brilliantly pure-of-heart Gerda, menaced by Robin Laing’s supercilious wicked henchman Cobweb Spider, spills from the stage to encompass the auditorium.

Mark Prendergast’s illusions – flying shards of mirror and magically appearing rings – enhance the realism so the real theatre seems natural. Ken Harrison’s set and costumes have an antique Scandinavian feel that works well with the story.

The comedy is strongly played, allowing an element of pantomime to provide balance to the evil. Prendergast and Julie Duncanson are beautifully judged talking ravens, Grant O’Rourke brings superb technical skill to his three main roles, and the second half comedy line-up of robbers is brilliantly timed. The only lack is in McKenzie’s muted level of evil, which needs beefing up with a touch of pantomime.

Production Information

The Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, December 2-31

Author
Stuart Paterson
Director
Mark Thomson
Producer
Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Cast includes
Allison McKenzie, Helen Mackay, Mark Prendergast, Leo Wringer, Julie Duncanson, Robin Laing, Neil Thomas, Ashley Smith, Grant O’Rourke
Running Time
2hrs 15mins

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