Winter has come to Edinburgh. Streets are packed with pedestrians bundled in cozy coats and scarves, icy cold air turns cheeks rosy, and, most importantly, the Scottish Ballet’s The Snow Queen is playing at the Festival Theatre. There is no better way to celebrate the start of the festive season than to book tickets to see this delightful ballet. The Snow Queen is a joyful, beautiful, and dazzling production.
Opening with a scene at the Winter Palace, featuring the Snow Queen and the Summer Princess, the ballet captures the audience’s attention from the onset. The two ballerinas are immaculately costumed in gorgeous, sparkling tutus and present a tantalizing preview of their artistic and athletic talent. With haste, the plot and action carries the audience to a new setting. Lexi, the Summer Princess, runs away in disguise to a charming town. Eerie snow wolves periodically try to search for Lexi and bring her back to her sister.
The town entertains with the arrival of the circus. The ‘Ballerina’ (Kayla-Maree Tarantola) and the ‘Strong Man’ (Ben Thomas) perform with passionate exuberance, dancing my favourite variation of the evening. The Ballerina’s bejewelled gold tutu and adornations of jewellery, complemented by the Strong Man’s tattoos and leopard print shorts, fittingly match the couple’s confident, high-powered energy. The pas de deux is transfixing, a spirited and technically perfect demonstration of dance. The festivities and circus acts in Act I are jubilant, colourful, and heartwarming.
Act II of The Snow Queen is a visual feast. The Snowflakes and Jackfrosts whirl across the stage in a captivating depiction of a winter storm. Mazelda, the fortune teller, dances with grace and tenacity deep in the forest. In the same woods, instrumentalist Gillian Rissi plays violin, adding a wonderful touch of live music on the center stage. Moreover, the Scottish Ballet Orchestra deserves recognition for playing Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s alluring music with incredible skill. Much of the score is taken from his operas, including music from The Snow Maiden.
Most impressively, the Snow Queen (Constance Devernay-Lawrence) plays her role as the icy villain with extraordinary finesse. Her long extensions, rapid double pirouettes, and quick jumps awe the audience. She radiates power as she leaps prettily across the stage, causing chaos in her wake. Her artistry is impeccable, her magnificence radiates to the back of the theatre, projecting to the last row seats of the highest balcony. Her love for her run-away sister, the Summer Princess, partially redeems her evil actions. Although undoubtedly the villain, the Snow Queen is still a sympathetic and intriguing character.
The final pas de deux between Gerda (Roseanna Leney) and Kai (Jerome Barnes) is a joyous celebration of romantic love. The ballet ends with a moment of breathtaking beauty, as the two dancers ardently embrace, leaving the audience with chills. A happy fairytale ending is something we all need to occasionally believe in, and The Snow Queen will undoubtedly lift spirits. I left the theatre with a light heart and a small smile on my face.
The Scottish Ballet’s retelling of Han Christian Anderson’s classic tale is not one to miss. With enchanting costumes, intricate set design, awe-inspiring dancing, and an exciting plot, The Snow Queen will entertain children and adults alike. The ballet transports to a fairytale world, full of magic, icy danger, and the inextinguishable fire of true love. Bundle up in your warm coats and take a trip to the Festival Theatre.
The Festival Theatre, Nov 26 – Dec 10, touring the UK November – February
Images photographed by Andy Ross, provided to The Student vis Press Release.