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The Snow Queen review at New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme – ‘a visual treat’

Writer and director Theresa Heskins can normally be relied upon to come up with a quality seasonal offering and she doesn’t disappoint with this year’s winter showpiece.

From The Snow Queen’s opening scene, in which excited youngsters skate across a frozen lake – brilliantly created by lighting effects beamed into the round – the tone is set for this timeless fairytale.

Delights include the snowflake costumes worn by the Snow Queen and her ice army and the use of ingenious props that conjure fluttering birds and pop-up picture books.

The original songs are sung by a cast that frequently switches to playing musical instruments, and there is simplicity in the use of falling snowflakes. The overall effect is quite wonderful and provides the perfect backdrop to the story of a search for lost love. Facing all manner of obstacles to track down her missing Kai (Luke Murphy), Gerda is delightfully played by Natasha Davidson.

Despite many high points, some of the dialogue is unclear and Heskins’ story-telling is at times confusing. And while Polly Lister is beautifully costumed in the title role, she is not quite the menacing presence that she might be.

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Verdict
A visual treat that suffers from muddled story-telling 

Production Information

Production
The Snow Queen
Venue
New Vic
City
Newcastle-under-Lyme,
Starts
November 19, 2016
Ends
January 28, 2017
Authors
Hans Christian Andersen
Adaptation
Theresa Heskins
Director
Theresa Heskins
Musical director
James Atherton
Choreographer
Beverley Edmunds
Set
Laura Clarkson
Lighting
Daniella Beattie
Sound
James Earls-Davis, Alex Day
Costume
Lis Evans
Stage manager
Katie Bevan (company stage manager), Steve Hall (deputy stage manager)
Cast includes
Polly Lister, Luke Murphy, Natasha Davidson, Rachel Dawson, Matthew Ganley, Lizzie Franks
Producer
New Vic
Running time
2hrs 10mins