The Snow Queen, Tisbury Arts Group at the Nadder Hall

DAN Evans is not a man to do things by halves. Not only has he adapted the familiar Hans Christian Anderson story The Snow Queen but also written music for it and directed the show for Tisbury Arts Group.

It was a huge challenge for the group, performing in a former school hall with few theatrical facilities, and (on the opening night) with no heating.

But the cast rose to the occasion, performing as though they had the lights, sound systems and stage effects that would have so helped them and the audience.

This version begins and ends on Christmas Eve, when three sisters, left with their grandparents as their parents visit the Sub-Continent, wait for a bedtime story.

At first their grandfather is unwilling to tell them the tale of the Snow Queen, but, persuaded, he warms to the task, detailing the history of evil in which a magic mirror is made by the devil, and anyone who looks in it is transformed, the evil to apparent good and the good to misery and self loathing.

Soon Gerda and Kai come to life, friends waiting for Christmas as the snow starts to fall. But a stray snowball pierces Kai’s eye and his heart, and the once cheerful boy turns into everyone’s adolescent nightmare.

Soon he’s fallen prey to the machinations of the Snow Queen, who promises the earth and all its blandishments in her obsession to take control of everything she sees.

Gerda’s love and determination are the only chance that poor Kai has, and, as she sets off through the world, she finds help from unlikely sources including witchy gardeners, reindeer, crows, wise women and the daughter of brigand parents whose secret desire is to be M. and Mme Thenardier.

It is enormously inventive, and the specially composed music includes big comedy numbers and some extraordinary Klezmer (performed by Charlie Greenwood).

Tiegan Power is the determined Gerda and Billy Bacon the easily led Kai, with Justine Peroni as the chilly queen (an ash blonde, of course).

There is a memorable cameo from Christian Allsopp as the crow, the the timing of Patricia Coopman as the wise woman and Gerda was exceptional.

It’s not comfortable in a cold Nadder Hall, but the real cold soon gave way to the chill of this story, given a clever twist and performed as well as could be done given the restrictions of the venue.


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