You could probably start a support group for parents who have been forced to watch Frozen hundreds of time over the years, so it might be understandable if there are some who are keen to avoid an adaption of the Hans Christian Andersen story from which it takes inspiration. However, Charles Way’s new take on this well-worn tale is one of those shows that adults will be just as glad to sit through as kids.
Backed by a pretty, mirror-covered set, the plot has been pruned down to its bare branches, with Gerda journeying through the seasons on a quest to save her neighbour Cai from the Snow Queen. The energetic and versatile cast bounce their way through some surreal scenes and lend it the wide-eyed, coming-of-age feel of Spirited Away, but there are enough dumb laughs in there to keep it grounded, too.
All in all, the humour is well-balanced and doesn’t stoop to sneaking in adult jokes or cultural references as a treat for mums and dads. That being said, if the ever-reliable signal of children fidgeting about is anything to go by, the slow start to the second half suggests the highlights could be shared round a bit more evenly.
If you’re in need of an alternative to a certain Disney princess sequel this Christmas, The Snow Queen is a charming way to introduce children to the theatre – or remind grown-ups why they fell in love with it in the first place.