Being bundled up and huddled under a heater to escape the cold while watching trolls romp around in the woods is all part of the experience of attending Serenbe Playhouse’s latest hit production, Rachel Teagle’s The Snow Queen.
Based on the fairy tale, not the recent Disney blockbuster Frozen, The Snow Queen offers a timeless tale of loyalty and friendship. As told by the trolls (Lauren Chamblin, Robert Lee Hindsman and Alex Towers), the story follow the young Gerda (Allie Southwood) and Kai (Will Skelton), whose deep friendship becomes tested after the trolls break a magic mirror that causes the afflicted to see the worse in someone. When Kai becomes the Snow Queen’s (Brittany Ellis) prisoner, Gerda embarks on a journey to save him.
Set in a wooded area, adorned with simple sets (including a majestic snow palace with mirrors), and woven together with Teagle’s trademark wit, the show is a charming holiday production. Instead of passively watching the show, the audience moves from area to area with the characters as the story unfolds.
Brian Clowdus’ staging uses the area perfectly as does Bryan Rosengrant’s lighting design and Clowdus’ and Ryan Oliveti’s set design. But what stands out the most is the detailed and imaginative costumes by Erik Teague. All of the costumes are noteworthy, but it is the Snow Queen’s costume that is especially memorable. The beautiful design allows the character to have a mysterious, graceful appearance that is captivating.
Teagle’s script sounds fresh with a few humorous quips here and there, but the storyline allows her to explore a darker tone that she hasn’t been able to do with her other Serenbe productions. It makes the play feel more adult oriented, yet her playful style keeps the show child friendly. Her script moves quickly and is spry enough to keep the shortest of attention spans interested.
What Serenbe Playhouse has created is a unique and imaginative retelling of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale that will be worth the visit. The Snow Queen runs through December 23, 2014 with most dates selling out. For more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show’s run time is a little under a hour.
– Kenny Norton