Paul T Davies reviews The Snow Queen, this year’s rock’n’roll panto from the New Wolsey Theatre which can be streamed online or seen live in the theatre!
The Snow Queen.
New Wolsey Theatre online and in the theatre!
Theatres have pulled all their various stops out to make theatre and Pantomime happen wherever possible this year, and it’s a wonderful relief to watch the New Wolsey Theatre’s traditional rock and roll panto again, even if this time from the comfort of my sofa! I joined a live stream of the show together with a socially distanced audience in the theatre, and all the elements are firmly in place for family-friendly fun! Given the circumstances, there is no elephant in the room- Corona is tackled head-on in both jokes and songs. Clever recorded music sequences help keep the story interesting and ensure social distancing and safety.
It’s a small cast who convey the energy of a full company, with no chorus or groups allowed on stage, these five performers give everything to the show. Steve Simmonds is a delightful Dame, really walking the line of adult humour and bringing the audience to happy interaction. (After all, it takes place in the village of Ballbroken!) James Haggie uses his comedy genius to great effect once more as village idiot Simon Clinkerbin, and then brilliantly acts against type as the sinister Icicle, who gets the show off to quite a dark start. Lucy Wells is great as the heroine Gerda, and I really enjoyed Adam Langstaff as hilarious Sven Lumphammer and Kay, Gerda’s love interest. Natasha Lewis contrasts very well between kind Primrose and the Snow Queen, she sings Madonna’s Frozen beautifully.
Excellent camera work and interaction between live and recorded elements come across very well, creating quite a new experience. The score, as it always seems to be, is a little dated and I often wonder if perhaps some more contemporary songs could be added that younger audience members could sing along to. I’m also not sure that a fifteen-minute interval is necessary, especially given that the show is a little shorter than usual. That’s a minor quibble though as the interactive element, especially involving the Hammer of Ipswich, works so well. I have to be honest though, I do hope this will be a one-off and next year we can all be gathered within the theatre for a full-throated, fully charged panto!