The Snow Queen (3 stars)

The Snow Queen

Chiara Sparkes as Gerda and Emily Winter as Summer Princess / credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Noisemaker's Dundee Rep team up is a festive season feast

Gerda (Chiara Sparkes) and Kai (Ross Baxter) are two cheeky young friends, who while away their time playing a Dungeons and Dragons style board game. But one day Kai, longing for real adventure, is struck down and spirited away by the mysterious forces of The Snow Queen (Sophie Reid) an icy despot styled like Disco Kylie from a frozen land.

Created by Noisemaker (Scott Gilmore and Claire McKenzie) and directed by the Rep's Andrew Panton, this mischievous and visually ravishing adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tale is a mishmash of folktale and fairytale, with some panto flourishes for the little ones.

Richard Evans' design is dazzling, augmented by the psychedelic video work from Lewis Den Hertog, all 3D shards of flying glass and seasonal elements. But the stakes feel low as Kai is underwritten, meaning Gerda's quest to rescue him seems more about the road trip itself than the outcome.

However, there is enough campy humour, particularly through David Delve's braying yet inefficient Sir Jeffrey and Ann Louise Ross' bizarre Clint Eastwood referencing penguin. Tortoise In A Nutshell's Crow (ably voiced by Ewan Donald) is a hit with all, bringing a sardonic edge to the sentimental scenes.

With a strong female hero in a superb Sparkes, some catchy songs and a few surprises along the way, the production is mostly successful, if a little unwieldy at times. Like the best Christmas banquets, some trimming(s) would be welcome.

Dundee Rep, until Mon 31 Dec.

The Snow Queen

Theatrical re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s festive tale, which follows the adventures of Gerda and her unlikely band of companions as they set off to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and free her best friend Kai.

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