Mhairi Graham explores the dark, dark world of children's entertainment.
Sleigh bells, snow, a poor, misled child and a frosty leading lady: it’s time for the festive tradition, the Christmas Production. Except The Snow Queen at the Arches, is not your average work of Christmas fluff. Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairytale has been given a contemporary adaptation by Megan Barker. Expect “trolls, ice caverns, slivers of glass getting children’s hearts, shape-shifting frogs, and a journey to the ends of the Earth,” states director Al Seed, “full of danger and fantastical creatures.” Megan Barker and Al Seed have both established themselves at the Arches, with previous successful productions to their name. Seed received much praise for his recent production, The Fooligan, which was shown during the Fringe this year, and he won a Herald Angel for his work. The show also marks a festive debut for new artistic director Jackie Wylie, as well as recent performance costume graduate, Ruth Webster.
Although definitely designed for a younger audience, The Snow Queen is certainly not just for children: “Tiny fellows are demanding and merciless critics,” states Seed, so expect high standards.
Light and sound play an integral role in Al Seed’s work, and both these elements have been incorporated into the set and costume. A white and sparkling festive set, with lots of shadow puppetry and cutwork designs, with the help of Emily Hogarth, who has recently worked with Jasper Conran. “High fantasy in the fullest,” The Snow Queen is a magical tale of the battle between good and evil, with a strong team of writers and designers which will hopefully satisfy the most humbug of Scrooges. “Most importantly there will be laughter,” predicts Seed, “lots of it. And kissing.” If you weren’t sold before, then I’m sure that’s done it!