The Snow Queen

Wellington Performing Arts Centre, Wellington

07/07/2008 - 19/07/2008

Production Details

Be Enchanted by The Snow Queen this July school holidays! 

Kapitall Kids Theatre is proud to present The Snow Queen this July school holidays at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre.  Originally written by Hans Christian Anderson, The Snow Queen is a magical story of love and courage. Well loved by people all over the world, this adaptation by Anna Elizabeth Burns and directed by Bea Lee-Smith (in their second production together) retains the magic, innocence and beauty of the original story using drama, songs and puppets.  Lovable characters and humour make the play a must see for the wintry July holidays. 

Kay and Gerda are best friends.  They live with Kay’s Grandmother and play together all year round.  One summer, Kay is infected with a splinter of magical goblin glass, which turns his heart to ice.  That winter, the Snow Queen comes and takes him away from his village and up to her ice castle in the north.  No-one knows where he has gone.  The following spring, little Gerda sets off to find Kay, as she believes in her heart that he is still alive and needs her help. 

What follows is an amazing series of adventures, as Gerda journeys further and further north into the snow and ice.  On her way she is befriended by a colourful assortment of characters – an old lady in her beautiful garden, a friendly Crow, a Prince and his clever Princess, the Little Robber Girl and the Robber Queen, Bae the reindeer, and the wise Lapp Woman in the north.  With their help, Gerda finally arrives at the Snow Queen’s Ice Castle to save Kay.  Can she release him from the Snow Queen’s icy clutches? 

A journey of love and friendship, this story will warm the hearts of adults and children alike. 
Aimed at children aged 4 – 10 years old but will appeal to children of all ages.

7th to 19th July
11am and 1pm weekdays
11am Saturdays (no show Sunday) 
Tickets $10 or Groups of 10+ $9

Wellington Performing Arts Centre
Level 1, 36 Vivian Street

For bookings, please call 04 934 4068

Gerda - Sandi Malesic
Kay - Lucy Edwards
Snow Queen - Anna Burns
Grandmother - Rodney Bane
Mrs Appleblossom - Lucy Edwards
Crow - Anna Burns
Prince - Rodney Bane
Princess - Lucy Edwards
Lapp Woman - Anna Burns
Bae the reindeer - Rodney Bane
Dove - Woody Tuhiwai
Robber Queen - Anna Burns
Little Robber girl - Lucy Edwards
Hob - Rodney Bane
Gob - Woody Tuhiwai

Crew List
Stage manager - Woody Tuhiwai
Sound - Tessa Alderton
Lighting Design - Bex Weatherhead
Lighting Ops - Daniel and Jodie Weatherhead
Original Music by Jonathon Berkhan with input from Jeff Abbot
Producer - Jo Eggers 

Hidden meanings a worry

Review by Jackson Coe 14th Jul 2008

The Snow Queen, produced by Kapital Kids Theatre and performed at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre, is another of the shows on offer for the school holidays. This one is much more caricatured and cartoon-like – you might say it’s more what you would expect from a kids show.

The story revolves around a little boy, Kay, who is captured by the villainous Snow Queen and taken back to her castle. The boy’s friend, Gerda, misses him and eventually sets out on a rescue mission, meeting all sorts of interesting friends along the way. The cast of five do an excellent job of portraying a total of fifteen characters.

Variety certainly is the spice of the day here. As with Hinepau, there are some cool puppets (these ones are Goblins), an array of Kings, Queens, animals and plants, and plenty of songs.

But the older I get, the more I am bothered by the hidden meanings in these kinds of fairy tales. Hans Christian Anderson, upon whose story this show is based, was by no means writing the sugary Disney tales which are presented today. Think about it, people. A tall and alluring woman ‘takes little boys back to the castle’, where said boy happily remains until his jealous friend comes looking for him? Let’s just say that would expect him to come back a bit more of a man than he was before…


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Mystery and fun for the kids

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 13th Jul 2008

The fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson are full of magic, mystery and adventure and as such are ideal for adaptations into engaging pieces of theatre.  The Snow Queen with its seven interlinking stories is one of the more complex but in this adaptation by Anna Burns for Kapital Kids Theatre, the story has been pared down to its essential elements without losing any of Anderson’s charm and magic.  

A young girl and boy, Gerda and Kay, are playing outside one day when Kay is smitten by fragments of a mirror that has been bewitched by the nasty hobgoblins Hob and Gob.  One piece goes into Kay’s heart which turns to ice causing Kay’s personality to change, which upsets Gerda.  Then during a snow storm Kay is whisked away by the nasty Snow Queen and so starts Gerda on an adventure of her life as she goes in search of her best friend. 

On her way she encounters the enchanted garden, a black crow that takes to the home of the prince and princess where she finds refuge then she meets up with the Little Robber Girl eventually ending up in Lapland and with the help of the Lapp Lady finds Kay still under the spell of the Snow Queen.  Much to the disgust of the Snow Queen they are able to solve her puzzle, the puzzle of Love, thus breaking the spell causing the Snow Queen to melt. 

In this production a cast of 5 create the myriad of characters needed to tell the story with Sandi Malesic as Gerda and Lucy Edwards as Kay and Anna Burns, Rodney Bane and Woody Tuhiwai playing all the other characters including a delightful pair of glove puppets.  On a simple set that accommodates the many scene changes the cast, brightly costumed, bring to life with confidence the magic and mayhem of Gerda’s adventures.

The lighting and background music are particularly good in this production, greatly enhancing the fantasy elements of the story.  And although some of the scene changes are a little protracted, and once the actors get into their stride and move the story along with even more pace this will be a great piece of holiday entertainment.


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A good story well told

Review by John Smythe 10th Jul 2008

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen is an epic story made up of seven tales. Anna Elizabeth Burns – who also plays the title role and three others – has done a good job of adapting it for five actors (including the stage manager, Woody Tuhiwai), who play 15 characters between them, some as puppets.

Andersen’s evil troll ("actually the devil himself") – whose magic mirror that makes everything look bad and ugly gets smashed into dust particles that can randomly enter anyone’s eye or heart – becomes two puffy-faced puppets called Hob and Gob.

The other danger – explained to two close childhood friends Gerda (Sandi Malesic) and Kay (a boy, but played by Lucy Edwards) by Gerda’s Grandmother (Rodney Bane) – is the Snow Queen, who has a habit of taking little boys back to her castle, not least (in this version) to enlist their help in solving a puzzle …  

The children’s friendship comes unstuck when a bit of mirror dust flies into Kay’s eye and he becomes rude and abusive. Quite why he doesn’t see the Snow Queen as ugly and horrible is not explained but she soon cools his corrupted heart with two kisses (a third would kill him) and whisks him off to her castle.

The remainder of the play involves Gerda’s quest to find the lost Kay and involves encounters with a gardening witch called Mrs Appleblossom (Edwards), an obliging Crow (Burns), a Robber Queen (Burns) and her friendless Little Robber Girl daughter (Edwards) with her tethered pets Bae the reindeer (Bane) and Dove (Tuhiwai), and a husband-seeking Princess (Edwards) and her bridegroom Prince (Bane).

While the directing is less than inspired, with clunky hiatuses during some scene transitions, the actors focus well on their roles and actions. Sandi Malesic’s sincere Gerda anchors the moral centre of the play without being too ‘goody two-shoes’. Anna Burns relishes all her roles, singing and moving with flair. Lucy Edwards is especially strong as Kay and could be less two-dimensional in her other roles.

Rodney Bane acquits himself well in stock theatrical modes and Woody Tuhiwai is tireless in completing the cast, manipulating props and managing behind the scenes.

The obligatory songs are a mixed bunch, including ‘Come Into the Garden Child’, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and, as the finale – once the puzzle is solved and hearts are melted using pieces of ice to spell out LOVE – ‘Love Is In The Air’. Some of the singing lacks the required oomph and more than one song, including the finale, goes on too long.  

The only topical twist involves the defeated Snow Queen, who used to rule the world through the Ice Ages, being banished to the North or South Pole: "and even they are beginning to melt!" she is told – which is not exactly something to rejoice at, I’d have thought.

But overall it’s a good story well told. Given all the local holiday shows are charging around $10 a ticket, it has to be said that Capital E’s Hinepau and KidzStuff’s Puss ‘n Boots have higher performance and production standards. But if your younger kids (4-10) are hungry for live theatre and want to see everything that’s going, they are likely to enjoy The Snow Queen too.


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