REVIEW: Excitement, spectacle and fear in adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale
Ballet Theatre UK showed Disney how it should be done by combining excitement, spectacle and perfectly judged frissons of fear in its beautifully choreographed adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
Disney took the 1844 fairy tale, turned it into a tale of a fearless princess who sets out to rescue her sister and turned it into the multi-million grossing Frozen. Millions of little girls can’t be wrong, but much of the ice was turned into sugar.
Christopher Moore, Ballet Theatre UK’s artistic director, stayed true to the original and, thanks to a wonderful cast and inspired costumes, this production was enjoyed by a first night audiences of all ages. For younger members, there was magic, a beautiful heroine, a wicked queen and a happy ending. For parents and grandparents, there was all that with an underlying layer of darkness.
Charlotte Eades was a perfect Snow Queen, icy, regal and powerful. Claire Corruble Cabot was equally impressive as the Lady of the Flowers, the old woman who tries to keep Gerda with her by making her forget what has happened to Kay. Dancing literally bent double, with wonderful comic notes, she stole part of the show.
After the terrible events in Paris, Claire and her husband, Vincent Cabot – who played Kay opposite Emma Miller’s Gerda – must have needed all their professionalism to perform so well. Claire was born in Paris and trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School and Vincent comes from Limoges.
Well done, Theatre Royal, for perfect timing. The performance started at 7pm and finished at 9pm, which was perfect for a weekday family treat.
The last word must go to the little girl sitting behind us. “It was better than Frozen,” she announced: Ballet Theatre must be well pleased with that.
The Snow Queen is showing at the Theatre Royal until Wednesday.