March of the Snow Queen
The Snow Queen by Teatro Kismet, Bury Theatre Royal, until April 8One of the joys of theatre is stumbling across something dazzling and different. The Snow Queen by Italian company Teatro Kismet is just such a show - part conventional theatre, part dance, part circus - director Teresa Ludovico has combined the various story-telling skills to come up with a fabulous fairytale which bewitches the audience.
ONE of the joys of theatre is stumbling across something dazzling and different. The Snow Queen by Italian company Teatro Kismet is just such a show - part conventional theatre, part dance, part circus - director Teresa Ludovico has combined the various story-telling skills to come up with a fabulous fairytale which bewitches the audience.
Commissioned as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Anderson, the show is designed to work for both children and adults. It is fun, colourful, it has a simple moral story, but there is a darker undertone which more mature audiences will appreciate and adds flavour to this decidedly eccentric tale.
The story is one of true love which is torn apart. Set in a rooftop garden, Gerda loves Kay. They are destined to be together. But one night The Snow Queen arrives on a chill wind and seduces Kay, ensnares him in her icy grasp. Gerda is distraught and sets out on a tortuous journey to win her true love back.
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Told in a genuinely spectacular fashion, there are strong elements of Japanese culture mixed in with the European physical theatre tradition. The Snow Queen, in particular, would seem to herald from the snow-capped mountains of Japan with her stylised make-up, long sleeved gown and the powerful drumming which accentuates her every move.
Visually the show is a real treat. The lighting is both imaginative and subtle. Great use is made of half light and highly directional lighting which is used to form part of the story-telling process. The image of the Snow Queen hanging in mid-air, looming dangerously in the evening half-light, creates a sense of menace as we are introduced to our heroes. Also the use of long lengths of silk allows the audience to really engage their imagination and let go of the physical world which would be hemmed in by a conventional set.
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A total delight from start to finish. Let's hope that Teatro Kismet will be back soon with another show which will confound our sense of what theatre is.