'A show which keeps young and old alike captivated - The Snow Queen at St Albans' Abbey Theatre
PUBLISHED: 09:43 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:43 22 December 2017
How fortunate for the Company of Ten that just before the St Albans theatre group launched its Christmas show, it snowed and snowed and snowed.
Because the recent heavy snowfall, which may have been the first time some youngsters had seen real snow, helped to make its enchanting seasonal production of The Snow Queen, adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen tale, even more special.
This is a particularly appealing adaptation because it encourages the young – and not so young – audience to participate while not going to the lengths of “Look out behind you!”
So there is clear space between it and the pantomimes at the Alban Arena and Harpenden Public Halls and offers St Albans’ audiences something different at Christmas.
Right from the outset it involves the audience and the youngsters were quick to respond.
With its cast of trolls, animals, birds and robbers, there was plenty to keep them involved in the tale of how Gerda goes to rescue her best friend Kai from the clutches of the Snow Queen in her Ice Palace.
Joel Corless is particularly memorable as the Wild Crow who accompanies Lucy Wilson’s accomplished Gerda on her mission to rescue Kai.
And Shelley Bacall’s Snow Queen hits just the right note as the ‘baddie’ without scaring the audience, some of whom were very young.
But it is the trio of Ben Fricke, Zodiac O’Neill and Kevin Broadfoot who steal the show, firstly as the incompetent soldiers guarding the Ice Palace and later as the equally hopeless robbers.
In the former role, they were particularly hilarious, well-drilled and clearly enjoying the laughter they were getting from the audience.
The Snow Queen is directed by Tina Swain who rightly points out in her programme notes that family or children’s theatre requires just as much skill and talent as adult theatre – if not more so.
And she succeeds in a show which keeps young and old alike captivated on a set which, in true Company of Ten style, transforms the stage of the Abbey Theatre into a winter wonderland.
The Snow Queen runs until December 29 and times of performances can be found on the website www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or go to the box office on 01727 857861.