Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (rating 5/5)
A wintry tale with a warming message is told in this elegant and sumptuous production, a suitably grand and defining piece to mark Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary.
After a slow start, the pace quickens and the story, choreographed by Christopher Hampson is played out against four breathtaking sets by designer Lez Brotherston
A large cast is led by the stunningly expressive Constance Devernay in the title role in this re-working of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairytale. She competes with her sister the summer queen (Kayla-Maree Tarantolo) for the love of Kai (Andrew Peasgood). Both wish to lure him from his fiancee Gerda (Bethany Kingsley-Garner).
This interpretation of the story, which inspired the Disney animation movie Frozen, unfolds first at a town market place and a travelling circus, which allows the dancers to display acrobatic feats while clowns and a tattooed strongman inject some humour.
Act two opens with an energetic performance by a troupe of bandits to one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s most memorable movements from a score adapted by Richard Honner before moving to the snowy forest and its threatening wolves and Jack Frosts, and finally to the Snow Queen’s palace.
While Devernay deservedly takes the evening’s honours, among the more notable takeaway performances is the violin solo by Gillian Risi in the bandit encampment, a nice additional touch in this impressive re-telling of a Christmas classic.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: 7-29 December 2019
Theatre Royal, Glasgow: 3-18 January 2020
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: 22-25 January 2020
Eden Court, Inverness: 29 January-1 February 2020
Theatre Royal, Newcastle: 12-15 February 2020