The Snow Queen @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Scottish Ballet’s production is a delightful modern retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic tale of family, friendship, love and jealousy

Review by Lynn Rusk | 17 Dec 2019
  • The Snow Queen @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Created by artistic director Christopher Hampson and designer Lez Brotherston, The Snow Queen is Scottish Ballet’s second new work to commemorate its 50th anniversary year.

In this version there are a few adjustments made to the original. In the prologue, through a jagged peephole, we see a quarrel between the Snow Queen (Bethany Kingsley-Garner) and her sister, the Summer Princess (Alice Kawalek). The Summer Princess sees her future in an enchanted mirror with a handsome stranger. In an attempt to find true love she flees the icy palace, leaving the Snow Queen alone and filled with rage.

Disguised as pickpocket Lexi, she encounters childhood sweethearts Gerda (Constance Devernay) and her fiancée Kai (Barnaby Rook Bishop), who she recognises as the stranger from the mirror. However the Snow Queen catches up with them and in an attempt to punish her sister, she steals Kai away to her frozen palace, leaving Gerda to embark on a dangerous journey to retrieve her man from the Snow Queen’s icy grip.

Scottish Ballet’s The Snow Queen celebrates the original tale with many imaginative new characters and plotlines – the addition of the travelling circus troupe, a gypsy clan and the terrifying yet beautiful Jack Frost all add colour and fun to the performance.

As always, Lez Brotherston’s design is breathtaking. From the clever projections of the enchanted mirror to the idyllic Christmas card village scene and the icy realms of the Snow Queen’s palace, each luxurious detail brings the magic of this story to life.

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s score, adapted by Richard Honner, compliments Christopher Hampson’s choreography perfectly; the violin solo by Gillian Rissi by the gypsy campfire is one of the most memorable moments of the evening. As always the company sets the bar high, delivering clean, skilled and joyous performances.

Filled with frost, wonder and fun, The Snow Queen is another Christmas success for Scottish Ballet.

The Snow Queen, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh until 29 Dec; touring to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle in Jan-Feb 2020