Writer: Hans Christian Anderson
Adaptor: Matt Opatrny
Director: Jessica Burr
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
blessed unrest returns to the New Ohio Theatre with a new adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. Utilizing movement theatre and effectively minimalist staging techniques, Matt Opatrny and Jessica Burr’s foray into children’s theatre shows strong promise.
The fantasy and imagination of children’s theatre is exemplified by a strikingly bare and dazzlingly white set by Sam Vawter, and lighting by Jay Ryan creates visceral worlds for characters to catapult through. The singing sprinkled throughout is lovely, adding tremendous heart to the piece, particularly when Celli Pitt is the chanteuse of the moment. The movement is incredibly creative and clever – two men playing a reindeer in different configurations with impeccable timing is a highlight of the movement work in the production. Rich Brown in particular shines with his physical energy and character specificity in each of his ensemble roles (of which there are many), and he brings true joy to the stage.
Despite a note of an eighty-five minute running time, The Snow Queen at times feels a bit longer. Some of the acting, particularly by the central cast, is a bit presentational and difficult to connect with. Though children’s theatre is often exaggerated for effect and clarity, the underlying joy and truth could use some reinforcement to keep the engagement and momentum of the piece consistent throughout.
The Snow Queen is still in early performances; perhaps the energy will evolve with time in front of audiences. The play is charming and fun, and with just a bit more oomph will delight audiences of all ages.
Runs until 14 January 2018 | Image: Maria Baranova