Friday, January 17, 2014

Other Theatrical Snow Queen Productions (Pt 4): Rose Theater (with Su Blackwell's Lovely Sets)

Next up: the production you've probably heard about (especially if you've been a regular reader of the blog for a few years and saw this post HERE): Rose Theater's The Snow Queen production, using designs by the amazing fairy tale paper artist Su Blackwell.

I heard a lot of great things about the design, less so about the production itself unfortunately. I wish I could find some better sources to cite some different views from but here's the best I found:

A brief excerpt from an atypically brief review in The Guardian (who's reviews and articles I generally respect a lot):
There is a great deal to charm here, especially in Su Blackwell's cutout paper designs, which conjure fairytale forests and winking houses. The comedy is good, too, particularly in a scene in which Gerda encounters a Hooray Henry wedding party. But the show is often at its best when it sticks closely to Andersen's original rather than veering off into a story of the changing seasons at war with each other; and although Natascha Metherell's production has its moments of frosty magic, it doesn't quite generate the emotional power that it should.
An excerpt from British Theater Guide:
Here, the story of a young girl, Gerda, and her quest to save her friend Cei from the clutches of the evil Snow Queen, who plans to cloak the world in a perpetual winter, plays out on an attractive set by Su Blackwell, an artist making a first, distinguished foray into theatre design with this production. Each stage of Gerda’s journey through the seasons has a very particular look and tone, the mood enhanced by excellent music composed by Alex Silverman, with fiddle, accordion and guitar giving the production a beguiling folk spirit.
A standout sequence transports Gerda through the ice to arrive at the cottage of the sorceress Mrs D, the first of the transformative encounters on her quest. The most surprising episode moves us into a world of gap-year toffs and teen-speak: it breaks the mood, but features a very funny performance from Sian Robins-Grace as a decidedly modern teen princess.
...Overall, The Snow Queen skirts deep enchantment in this incarnation. But it’s a classy and enjoyable production that offers many delights.
And finally excerpts of additional information about the production, along with review opinion from Exeunt Magazine:
The set alone is a source of wonder. Paper artist, Su Blackwell, in her first design project for the stage has created a delicate, wintry world of trees, cottages and lampposts that appear to have been snipped from the pages of a paperback. Black lettering nests against white, making an apt and charming backdrop for Charles Way’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy story.Young Gerda is a nervy girl, prone to panic attacks and terrified of her bad-tempered schoolmaster father, Mr Overskou. When her classmates take turns to dance in front of one another, she can’t bring herself to join in and her best friend Cei has to calm her down. Though Cei and Gerda have been friends and playmates all their lives, Mr Overskou disapproves of the boy’s dreamy ways and forbids them to see one another; it is then that Cei falls under the Snow Queen’s spell. A shard of mirror pierces his heart and he becomes cold and cruel before being whisked off to the Queen’s winter palace and forced to piece together the shattered fragments of her magic mirror. But though the townspeople believe Cei to have drowned, Gerda refuses to accept this and sets off to find him.
If anything Natascha Metherell’s production is too gentle and sedate....What’s missing, despite all its considerable polish, is any real emotional tug or genuine sense of peril; it’s all a little too neat and tidy and lacks the wild fringes of the best children’s theatre.
I'm not quite sure what to think of this one, apart from the lovely set design (which I insta-love). Did anyone know anyone who actually saw this?

More Snow Queen theatrics coming so stay tuned!

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