Going to the theatre at Christmas is a tradition that is enjoyed by families and people of all ages.
This year’s Christmas time production at the Sherman Theatre Cardiff was the retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. It isn’t the first time the theatre has shared this fairytale classic, but it is probably one of the most creative recreations to date.
The Snow Queen is the story of Gerda (Anni Dafydd) who sets off an epic adventure to find her friend Kai (Ed Parry). It’s a journey which will ultimately lead her to the Snow Queen (Stephanie McConville)’s palace.
The production, which is written and composed by musical director Conor Mitchell is quite remarkable. The story of The Snow Queen is brought to life by narrators Grace O’Brien and Morgan Llewelyn Jones, who tell the story on a snowy winter’s evening from the comfort of their own home. Watch how the living room is transformed around them as they visit magical places with extraordinary characters on Gerda’s journey.
Not only is this way of storytelling quite clever and no easy feat to pull off, it was enjoyable to see this classic retold in the current day. Everything from the 2019-babysitter (Grace O’Brien)’s mobile phone ringing to the frustrations of the one sat (Morgan Llewelyn Jones) when the internet cuts out, it is something we can all relate to.
Although the entire cast was absolutely brilliant, a special mention has to be given to Anni Dafydd (Gerda). She was fantastic. Her facial expressions were spot on and it was lovely to witness very strong non-verbal communication being used to make this production as inclusive as possible. Jo Servi, who most notably played the crow who helps Gerda, really stood out too. His vocals and voice-switching between roles really captured the audience’s attention. I can’t wait to see what these two do next.
If you’ve been to the Sherman Theatre before, you’ll know how clever these performances are. The props might be basic, but it is how they are used effectively to tell the story. Cast numbers are often kept to a minimum, with people taking on multiple roles.
It has been some years since I last visited the Sherman Theatre, so I was taken back by the venue’s incredible £5.4 million makeover. What I had forgotten was how intimate the main auditorium is. The tiered seating gives you a good all-round view, it also makes you feel part of the performance by bringing the audience as close as possible to the stage.
As you’ve come to expect from this Cardiff community theatre, this production is extremely inclusive and has big family appeal.