Review: The Snow Queen – Liverpool Everyman Rock’n’Roll Panto

Lloyd Gorman & Lucy Thatcher Photo by Robert Day

By Nigel Smith

IF you’re visiting the Everyman’s Rock’n’roll Snow Queen this Christmas try not to worry too much about Hans Christian Andersen’s original and very convoluted tale of the Snow Queen – you’ll only confuse yourself.

Mark Chatterton and Sarah A Nixon have cunningly reworked the story so that it fits neatly into their ever-popular Everyman Christmas parcel. The enchanted mirror of the original story is replaced by the Stargate Stone, and its shattered splinters manage to become iced gems by the time they’re dislodged from the eye of the young woman they have bewitched.

We meet our heroine Laputa as a baby in a brief opening sequence. She is adopted by a pair of giant penguins (Adam Keast and Francis Tucker in disguise) before they are transformed into human form and sent off to the warm lands, as we’re swept forward 21 years to Laputa’s birthday party. It’s at this point that we also meet her childhood sweetheart Malakai, but naturally the course of true love isn’t destined to run smooth, and there are some perilous adventures ahead of them.

Lucy Thatcher plays the evil Snow Queen Viletta, complete with iced fingers, who is threatening to send the world into a deep freeze with the help of her trusty henchman played by Lloyd Gorman, in a wig worthy of Boris Johnson. Nikita Johal and Jamie Noar are Laputa and Malakai, who are bewitched by Viletta’s wiles, and it’s only with the help of a band of fairies that they’re released from her spell.

The script if packed full of the sort of split-level humour that regular audiences will be expecting and, while much of the innuendo is delivered by Keast and Tucker in their inimitable style, the rest of the cast also get to share the naughtiness. Danny Burns in particular gets some splendid lines, and in this year’s show he really gets chance to rev the comedy engine in a collection of contrasting characters.

As ever the cast is made up of multi-instrumentalists, and they’re all in fine voice too. Dinah England’s set and costumes are a visual treat, and Douglas Kuhrt’s lighting really comes to the fore as we move back and forth between the realms of ice and tropical sunshine. The score under the musical direction of Greg Last steers away from contemporary chart hits and is a cornucopia of genres. There’s even a spot of opera and ballet in the mix, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Strictly Come Dancing.

If you’ve been to the Everyman Panto before you know exactly what you’re going to get, and that includes very wet in all probability, and devotees of this staple of a Liverpool Christmas won’t be disappointed by this year’s outing.

The Snow Queen runs at the Everyman until 19thJanuary and many performances are already either sold out or limited availability, so if you’re up for it you’d better book soon to avoid being frozen out.