Moira and I went along to the Bristol Old Vic last night to Lee Lyford’s version of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen” (duly re-written/adapted by Vivienne Franzmann).
Somewhat ridiculously, this was the first time we’d seen
a performance at the Old Vic in this, its 250th year!
It proved to be a good night out. The highlight was undoubtedly
the evil, sinister Snow Queen herself – towering over the audience and coming
to life, thanks to the brilliance of Marc Parrett’s puppetry design. Will Duke’s
video projections were also impressive - as were the cast in their multi-tasking/multi-character
But, strangely, I
was left feeling that the production lacked a true sense theatrical magic.
The music was fine, but unexceptional (but perhaps I’ve just
been completely spoiled by hearing/seeing Benji Bower+Co over recent years!);
the acting was good but, sometimes, I felt that the ‘characterisation’ made some
of what was being said somewhat incoherent or muddled; some of the set design
was absolutely excellent, but (to my mind) some scenes/props were unnecessary
I think my main criticism is that the story had too many
themes and twists and, at times (quite frequently in my view), lost its way. Vivienne Franzmann’s adaptation maintained
the major plot points - and many of the characters of the original tale - and combined
them with new characters and several modern twists. Frankly,
it left me feeling that she’d over-complicated things… and that someone needed
to edit the script quite severely!
Hey, but what do I
Moira was also slightly disappointed by the production, judging
by the reaction of the rest of the audience, most people seemed to have thoroughly
enjoyed the show. Why don’t you see it for yourself and make up your own mind
(it runs until 15 January)?
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