Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale of how Gerda rescues her friend Kay from the Snow Queen is beautifully retold in this rendition adapted and directed by Poppy Rowley.
Having spent a busy day at the Fringe seeing shows and avoiding rain, my children and I were already tired as we queued for Airborne Theatre’s rendition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. The prospect of watching an hour long performance seemed a little daunting, but this performance was so engaging that we quickly forgot how tired, damp and hungry we were!
Resembling vaguely the hippie tribe from Hair (late 60’s musical), all performers (except one) were barefoot, entering simultaneously with the audience, interacting with us and mingling with each other. Here we saw some of the talents of the individual performers, with some juggling, dancing, and doing cartwheels. Eventually “would you like to hear a story?” cued the cast to sit on the floor in expectation.
As the story unfolded, the strength of the group became more apparent; each performer taking on a number of roles, changing character seamlessly. I love that fact that we saw all performers all the time. From their seated position in front of the audience, they would quietly move to the costume box, put on one or two small items, and then start performing. Likewise, as their character exited the scene, they once again went to the costume box, removed their items and returned to their seat as an audience member, being fully engaged in the story.
But it wasn’t only the cast that was impressive. The props were a mix of every-day items: a shoe, coat-hanger and shirt became a raven; books and gloves became birds; a mop with a scarf became a horse; and scarves and sheets were used to great effect. Original music was performed throughout by the composers on a variety of instruments: guitars, tambourine, ukulele and recorder.
I highly recommend that you treat yourself and your family to this accomplished piece of children’s theatre, and given that it is only on every second day throughout August, you should book early.