The Snow Queen (4 stars)

The Snow Queen

credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Dundee Rep’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale features just the right balance of fun and darkness

After last year’s reimagining of Cinderella, which transported the action of the Grimm fairy tale to a houseboat populated by retired magicians, Dundee Rep ensemble has gone back to basics with a straightforward but nonetheless captivating take on another classic.

There may be no men in frocks or singalongs here but what Jemima Levick’s production lacks in traditional panto mores it more than makes up for in atmosphere and urgent storytelling.

Molly Vevers and Martin McBride are charmingly wide-eyed as Gerda and Kai, the childhood best pals rent asunder when a splinter of cursed mirror finds its way into Kai’s heart. Gerda’s quest to find her chum (aided by a game Ann Louise Ross as her guardian angel) leads to a series of enjoyable encounters with talking crows, robbers, princesses, and finally the icy monarch herself (Emily Winter, stalking the frozen wastes on stilts).

The episodic nature of the adaptation, by Mike Kenny, means the pace is never allowed to flag while designer Lisa Sangster’s swaying pines, bright-coloured houses and snowflake jumpers give a timely nod to the dark thrills of Scandic chillers such as The Killing.

Dundee Rep, until Sat 5 Jan

The Snow Queen

This adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale from playwright Mike Kenny follows the story of little Gerda and her race to save her brother Kay from the clutches of the evil Snow Queen.