The animated Disney blockbuster was turbocharged with and songs that defined an entire generation. This week, the musical version swept onto London’s stage in a snowstorm of glitters, sequins and crystals. That was not all that happened on the red carpet. The Theatre Royal’s newly renovated Theatre Royal was rocked by the enthusiastic cheers from the audience when Samantha Barks, leading lady, unleashed her sensational Let It Go. She transformed mid-belt into an ice queen and unleashed a spectacular Let It Go. It’s the first time I can remember ever being in such an impressive theatre. You should arrive early in order to see the beautiful new terrace bar and display case of costumes.
The show shines best in spectacular set pieces, which range from an extravagantly decorated palace to terraces adorned with lanterns and lit by the Northern Lights. A jaw-dropping bridge is made of gigantic, glistening Icicles that rises from the wings. It continues rolling over the stage for as many as three theatres. It is a mystery where it went. What is the secret to their success?
It was pure magic, and this is before Elsa unleashed her powers across the huge LED screens that framed the stage. Our delighted gasps could be heard across London.
Barks sounds imposing as Elsa, while Stephanie McKeon adds a charming giddyness to Anna. Obioma Ugoala is a charming ice-seller Kristoff, while Oliver Ormson plays the role of Prince Hans with a fine swagger. The show’s real star is the supporting cast. Sven, Olaf and Olaf (a funny Craig Gallivan) were both adored by everyone. They are beautifully brought to life with puppetry and actors. I was captivated by the children who were around me.
Michael Grandage’s simple production is faithful to its cartoon roots. It delivers fan-favourite moments along with singalong songs like Do you Want To Build A Snowman and For the First Time in Forever. Hygge was my favorite song. It featured a cast of hilarious characters scurrying around a sauna wearing only their underwear and carefully placed leaves.
This show is sure to delight the most ardent fans, as evident by the gasps and chuckles I heard throughout the evening. The spectacle cannot hide the fact that the plot and characterisations are lacking in substance.
It will be a joy for little ones, but Disney is also great for the adults. This is a lost opportunity.
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez, the composers of the new twelve songs have also added scenes and useful numbers to Elsa’s Monster. The sisters’ I Can’t Lose You and Elsa’s brooding have given them the opportunity to explore their characters more than Anna’s naivety and her stoic sarcasm.
Similar to how Disney dealt with painful parental loss, from Bambi and The Lion King to The Lion King, the death of King and Queen at Sea is glossed over. Few punches land emotionally. Except for one misjudged right hook, which seems to send the wrong message to young audiences. Dramatically, Anna’s epic journey to her sibling’s mountain palace is completely absent. Instead, there’s a lot of running around the stage, and slow motion posturing.
The characters are drawn by the use of a script and some lyrics. However, they may appear more real when on stage then on screen.
The show is undeniably entertaining and dazzling, but it seems oddly skittish about the dangers and dark sides of fairytales.
Publited Sat, 11 September 2021 at 15:41:00 +0000