Writer: Llinos Mai
Director: Jon Dafydd-Kidd
Reviewer: Beth Steer
An adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s famous Christmas story, The Snow Queen, Hijinx Odyssey’s production brings the classic tale to life in a new way.
The spirit of Odyssey – an inclusive community group for adults with and without learning disabilities who share a passion for performance – shines through the production. And, as their annual festive production, The Snow Queen, is a light-hearted, enjoyable watch.
Set in an eerie and mystical black-and-white circus, the hour-long performance animates the traditional narrative with a sparkling set, witty one-liners and a touch of acrobatics.
The play follows Kai (Sean Williams), who heads off to join the circus after receiving a mysterious invitation, signed The Snow Queen. Gerda (Sara Pickard), Kai’s faithful friend, goes looking for him after he doesn’t return – and ends up encountering various circus performers, with all their weird and wonderful acts, along the way.
The circus acts are all entertaining – and the costumes, with sequins and glitter abound, are great. Amalia Banteli is particularly masterful as Crow, and Simon Richards as loveable Reindeer is humorous throughout. As the grouchy, irate ticket booth assistant, Matthew Purnell barks out his lines brilliantly, and the trio of clowns – wheeling through at every interval – add silliness and fun to the piece.
The star-and-snow-spangled set really helps make the piece; Kitty Callister has done a fantastic job with design and costume.
Though evidently well-practiced, the play feels a little rough around the edges at times – but the occasional fluffed line or missed cue only adds to the charm of the piece.
Odyssey pride themselves on being an important training ground for actors with learning disabilities and this production is a testament to the great work they achieve.
Runs until 3 December 2016 | Image: Jonathan Dunn