The Snow Queen takes flight in The Black Box

AN EXCITING and beautifully crafted version of The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale, comes to The Black Box next week.

This specially commissioned staging is a co-production between Letterkenny’s An Grianan Theatre and aerial dance specialists Fidget Feet that delivers a spectacular family show.

The Snow Queen brings together local and international talents using aerial work, dance, music, theatre, and special effects. Featuring original music by Jym Daly from Loop Guru with costumes and set design by Paul Shriek who has worked in fashion and theatre for almost 30 years, Gavin Marshal (RSC ) is the director, and has co-written this spectacular show alongside Fidget Feet.

The fairytale relates how a little boy, Kay, falls under the spell of the eponymous Snow Queen and is taken to her icy abode. His close friend Gerda goes in search of him and, after many adventures, she rescues him.

Fidget Feet’s Chantal McCormick, who takes the role of Gerda, outlines how the company have adapted the story.

“We’ve invented some elements. In the original story this magic mirror crashes from the sky and bits of it get into Kay’s eye and heart,” she says. “We came up with the idea that the Snow Queen is this amazing circus conjuror and she has her own palace with a fairground with all sorts of attractions like circus performers and freaks.

“Then she gets infatuated with this magic mirror she gets made that will keep herself young and beautiful. Because she gets besotted with that she neglects her circus and all the circus performers are unemployed.

“In the opening scene we are introduced to the Snow Queen and her circus freaks, and they accidentally break her mirror. She then fires them all after which she needs to find a beautiful young assistant to help her fix the mirror which is how Kay and Gerda come in, and we’ve kept them as they are in the original story.”

While Fidget Feet have put a ‘circusy’ stamp on the story, McCormick stresses they have sought to retain the original’s distinctive atmosphere while adding their own thrills and spills.

“We’ve just thought of ways we could introduce dance and circus to the story, especially with younger audiences in mind who might not normally go to see dance or contemporary circus,” she explains.

“When Kay first meets the Snow Queen she’s in her sleigh and you do have that eery, icy, atmosphere. She hypnotises him through this fantastic, beautiful aerial dance routine on fabric and he gets mesmerised and is taken up into the air with her.

“Another one of the aerial scenes is a skating scene between Gerda and Kay and that’s a scene that kids really seem to like. Another character we’ve kept is the flower lady but we’ve completely altered her – she’s become Miss Flatulata, The Farting Flower Lady and there’s a whole farting song and the kids really liked that.

“She’s a great character and she does trapeze in her act. Another aerial scene is at the climax where Gerda gets into the Snow Queen’s palace and there’s like an aerial ninja catfight between us and there’s a snowstorm going on in the middle of it. We also have an element of ‘Look out, he’s behind you’ and we go into the audience at times which gets a great response.”

With a striking set and costumes, The Snow Queen is a visual as well as dramatic feast. It runs at the Black Box from Thursday January 20 to Sunday 23 at 7.30pm nightly. Tickets are €12/8 and family tickets are available at €25. For booking contact the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or see www.tht.ie

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