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“Forget me not, forget me now, what once was lost can hence be found…”
A tale of danger, morality, and magic, the Three Left Feet company truly capture the disturbing beauty of The Snow Queen – based on the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen – illuminating Gerda’s [Ella Hughes] fantastical journey to save her dear friend, Kai [Adam McCoy], from the Queen’s grasp through shadow puppetry. Having had the privilege of viewing some of Three Left Feet’s other productions I’m certainly biased; I’m already a massive fan of their unchallengeable creativity and puppetry skill, but so would anyone after seeing this. Breath-taking artistry alongside a gorgeous music score and brilliant voice-overs; what more could you ask for? So let’s begin, shall we, for “it’s not the frozen bees you need to worry about but their queen” and the air is getting awfully cold.
Set against a white screen, we begin with the Devil [Shane Harper]. With the clear intention of this tale being that of morality and sin, Lara Orriss’ direction of the Devil opening sets the tone well. However, the Devil’s spoilt almost derivative tone, in a bid to simulate the temptations of sin, makes this scene almost cliché. Trapped in his underground prison, the Devil is shown ranting of the injustices inflicted upon him by his father and, in retaliation, the Devil sends his demons above with a mirror of impurity to wreak havoc, a mirror they eventually take to the heavens. However, faced by an angel, the mirror shatters into millions of pieces falling to the earth below where a shard hits a Dutch Queen [Adam McCoy] in the heart. She becomes the Snow Queen, twisted by the coldness now in her heart. I adored this scene with the incredible transparent puppet of the Snow Queen contrasting against the monochrome set.
Our tale turns to Gerda and Kai, two young ragamuffins, one pure and the other not. One night, Kai hears noises coming from the street, the Snow Queen. Seeing Kai peeping down at her, the Snow Queen sneers, freezing his heart. The next morning Gerda is faced with a cruel, proud Kai; they are then met by the Snow Queen who steals Kai away to her palace. Gerda follows the Queen in a bid to free Kai from his icy doom. Along her journey, Gerda is met by many strange characters, especially in the forest where her pure heart is tested: “this forest is magic and old, you haven’t forgotten why you came here have you?” First met by the sad sorcerer [Mark Murphy], later the delightful Cawlin [Adam McCoy], then the fair hearted robber boy [Shane Harper], Gerda is guided through the forest until she finally reaches the Queen’s palace, with the help of Poe the Reindeer [Andrew Holt], of course. Though I enjoyed all the characters, the performance that shined a little brighter than the others for me was Cawlin [Adam McCoy]. McCoy plays Cawlin perfectly, not too overbearing but almost motherly.
Now, faced by the Queen, Gerda’s pure heart is put to the test. Protected against the Queen’s anger, Gerda manages to free Kai from her grasp. However, Gerda’s true heart not only frees Kai as we’re surprised by the sight of a beautiful young Queen freed from her icy fate. Everyone loves a happy ending and this didn’t disappoint.
Overall, this is a brilliantly depicted tale full to the brim with lovable characters, a cracking narrative, and stunning puppetry. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest edition to the Three Left Feet collection and I cannot wait for the next installment.