Cumbernauld Theatre Four stars It's worth wrapping up warm for the fun-sized wintry adventure enticing wand-waving young audiences to Cumbernauld this year. The wooly-hatted and winter jumpered cast of five are already onstage to greet them at the opening of director Ed Robson's new take on Hans Christian Andsersen's beloved tale. As the cheery quintet set the scene of young Gerda's quest to free her best friend Kai from the clutches of the dreaded Queen, each peels off to become a multitude of larger than life characters Gerda meets en route. With Samantha Foley playing Gerda with wide-eyed gusto, one minute the others are operating a puppet of Jerry The Ferry Frog as Gerda attempts to cross the lake, the next they've become a pair of wax moustached Welsh guards. Nicky Elliot becomes Gerda's faithful on the road sidekick Dug the daft dog, Heather Pascal makes for an ethereal Princess of Dreams, while Julie Brown doubles up as a Flower Lady who plants singing flowers around her cottage before playing The Snow Queen herself with ice-cold demeanour and a heart to match. Gerda almost falls into the clutches of a dysfunctional and flatulent family of oversize insect-like creatures before introducing the joy of both reading and star-gazing to its youngest member, then whooshes off on a magic bogie to see the Northern Lights and rescue Colin McGowan's Kai with the aid of a single red rose that almost melts the Snow Queen's heart. With some fine video work from Craig Kirk accentuating the magic, Robson and co have navigated a very special journey that shows just how vital it is to stay in touch with the child within.
The Herald, December 9th 2013 ends