Review: The Snow Queen, Ipswich Co-op Juniors, Snape Maltings, until December 11

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors - Credit: Archant

The Ipswich Co-op Juniors certainly know how to stage a spectacle and this year’s festive extravaganza is as glitzy and glamorous – and as technically accomplished – as anything you would see on a West End stage.

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors - Credit: Archant

Since the move to Snape, the juniors have moved up a gear not only in production values but in the sort of show they do. Their pantos have given way to a glorious mix of Christmas show and dance showcase.

This year they are telling the story of Han Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen and, if anyone didn’t know, the presence of the song Let It Go in the show confirms that this classic folktale was the inspiration behind the Disney blockbuster Frozen.

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors - Credit: Archant

The direction and choreography by Rebecca Darcy is slick and assured and the 80 dancers perform some spectacular, well drilled routines taking us from the warm-hearted local village into the frozen wastelands inhabited by the ice bandits and the frost trolls.

The story, narrated by a voice over from Zoe Wannamaker, tells the tale of two orphans Kai and Gerda played with great spirit by Peter Ling and Emily Leech. On Christmas Eve they are playing on a frozen lake with their friends building, a snowman they name Crumbles, when the ice starts to crack, demonstrated by some wonderful lighting effects, and Kai finds himself falling through the water.

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors - Credit: Archant


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The wire work here (and at other times in the show) is superb, really catching the feel of someone floating down to the bottom of a lake. As he falls a cave opens up revealing a regal looking figure who not only raises Kai back up to the surface but brings Crumbles to life.

With the help of Crumbles, now animated by Wade Ablitt, Kai and Gerda, along with Gerda’s friend Anya, portrayed with great energy by Mia Fisk, go in search of Neve, The Snow Queen.

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The singing is delivered with great assurance and energy and Wade Ablitt is to congratulated for writing one of the Ice Queen’s powerhouse numbers. Lucy Allen brings a wonderful sense of dignity to the role of Neve and is a commanding presence on stage – even in the group dance numbers. This is clearly the result of some thoughtful choreography.

The ice storm and the frost mine numbers are particularly effective and would not look out of place in a West End show. It’s a show designed to get you in the Christmas spirit, delivered with a lot of energy and Yuletide cheer. It’s a fantastic showcase for Suffolk’s youthful talent.

Andrew Clarke

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