Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Snow Queen review at The Royal Lyceum Edinburgh

by -

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

Stuart Paterson
Mark Thomson
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

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price