Scottish Ballet’s winter offering this year is a beautiful interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s well-loved tale (and now famously Disney-fied, as the huge hit Frozen), The Snow Queen. The finale in a year of celebrations to commemorate the company’s 50th anniversary, this mesmerising piece is a joy to watch – visually stunning in its design, invoking memories of a picture-perfect Christmas card, full of snowy winter markets and apple-cheeked villagers.
The set design and costuming are a triumph, using colour in a very clever way, which transports the audience from the sharp, cold silvers of the Snow Queen’s isolated palace through the bright golden light and razzmatazz of a circus to the earthy red and purple of a gypsy traveller’s camp. Each scene is mesmerising, and the score, specially adapted from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s original music adds a magical, energetic element which delights and enthrals.
The titular role, danced by Constance Devernay, conveys a lonely, scorned woman set on securing love at all costs, at the expense of her relationship with her sister, the Summer Princess. Each act has a starring scene; in Act I the audience is treated to a whimsical circus, in which we meet Kai and Gerda, the young lovers caught up in the Snow Queen’s icy obsession. Act II opens with an incredible performance from the cast, as the Summer Princess, disguised as Lexi, meets a fortune teller and a group of travellers. The warmth and energy of this scene are marvellous – velvet-clad dancers in rich bohemian costuming give a roaring performance in this scene which is without a doubt the highpoint of the performance.
The plot could perhaps have been stronger, it meanders through without a crescendo worthy of the fantastic performances and set design, but nonetheless the visual spectacular that The Snow Queen delivers means audiences leave happy, and no doubt with a warm winter glow.
Showing at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow 15-18th January, then touring Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.
For tickets: https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/event/snow-queen