Review: The Snow Queen
Image: Theatre N16
Cast and creatives
Jessica Arden - Greta
James Tobin - Kay/ Crow
Jessica Strawson - Narrator
Hans Christian Anderson's classic family tale adapted by Tatty Hennessy.
This is a family friendly show which forms part of the Christmas season at Theatre N16.
The other show on offer in the season is Simon Stephen's drama, Christmas, about a run-down East End pub and most definitely just for adults.
Tatty Hennessy has crafted a humorous adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen (first published in 1844) featuring a talking crow which, more or less, steals the show enchanting, as far as I could tell, the little people among the audience.
The story is about Greta's brother Kay whose odd behaviour suggests he has been replaced with a copy of himself by The Snow Queen, and Greta has to venture forth on an icy odyssey to reclaim her real brother from The Snow Queen's clutches in her remote, freezing palace.
Tatty Hennessy's script is crammed almost to overflowing with sometimes pretty dire, sometimes obvious, but still funny puns and jokes, with the characteristics of the Crow being exploited to the full.
For example, we get the likes of "Britain's Got Talens", "Eggs Factor", and "are you raven mad".
Yes, it IS that time of year!
Apart from the groan-inducing (but well-contrived) puns the script is in good taste and the plentiful, corny jokes should appeal to kids and parents alike.
James Tobin provides laudable puppeteering skills as well as the voice to bring the Crow to life and Jessica Arden is a determined Greta who bravely sets out to rescue her brother.
Completing the lively and energetic young cast of three is Jessica Strawson whose warm and friendly voice provides comforting narration, and she ably doubles-up as the bear and other characters we meet along the way.
Though I could see the intention, the colour and patterning of Mr Tobin's jumper was a little too similar to that of the Crow, so occasionally the two merged together, making the Crow almost vanish.
And the Crow itself seems just a tad on the small size, even if it is not meant to be a creature with the stature of something like an albatross.
This is hardly the kind of extravagant production you might encounter in the West End where big names and even bigger budgets are the order of the day.
Apart from the puppet Crow we're largely in the territory of make-believe and pretend - a lampshade becomes the head of a bear and the Snow Queen herself is described with a shadow from behind a curtain.
That never seems to matter to children as far as my experience is concerned since their hyper-active imaginations are more than capable of filling-in the gaps in reality with consummate ease.
And even though the story is a little on the complex side and whizzes along at a rollicking rate, I doubt it will leave the kids feeling at all bewildered.
This might not be the most glamorous or expensive version of The Snow Queen you're likely to see, but there's more than enough inventive fun here to entertain the littlies this Christmas.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Theatre N16
Our show listing for The Snow Queen
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