The story of The Snow Queen, written by Hans Christian Anderson, is a well known classic, beautifully brought to life by director Lee Lyford and company. This production marvellously combines humour and childish innocence, with meaningful messages of friendship and courage.
Kai (Steven Roberts) and Gerda (Emily Burnett) have been best friends and next door neighbours their whole lives. Kai is brave and loving, whilst Gerda struggles with facing up to her fears. As time progresses children from their village begin disappearing until Kai and Gerda are the only children left. After Kai is taken by the evil Snow Queen and her goblins, Gerda sets out on a quest to rescue him, learning important things about herself along the way.
The set captured the playful, magic of the story, effortlessly portraying the enchanted home of the Flower-witch, to the gloomy and haunting prison of the Snow Queen, with large shards of ice jutting across the stage. Each place Gerda visits has it's own delightful personality, echoed in the colours and styles of costume designed by Tom Rogers. Another interesting addition, was the use of projections to portray Gerda falling in a river, and traversing along long halls in the Duke and Duchess' palace.
Throughout the Snow Queen there were a variety of different songs that made the audience laugh, cry and gasp in admiration of the amazing vocal skills, particularly of Gwyneth Herbert, who played the Snow Queen. The music mirrored the childish innocence of Kai and Gerda, as well as reflecting their friendship which was founded on moments iconic of childhood, such as ice-cream and laughing at farts.
Every performance that I have seen over the last couple of months at the Bristol Old Vic has boosted my excitement and anticipation, and Thursday's production of The Snow Queen was no different. I left energised and excited, fully assured that every member of the audience was laughing hysterically throughout the evening, charmed by the tale of self-discovery and friendship.