The coldest heart will be warmed by the entrancing story on stage now at Creative Cauldron, “The Snow Queen,” acted by a mostly children’s cast who’ve been in rehearsals since January.
Prepare to be captivated by an adorable crew, script and designs to take you on a snowy journey through an eerie forest. Writers and directors, Laura Connors Hull and Lenny Mendez, have added humorous lines to make old folks laugh in this adaptation by Ellen Selby and PJ Audenzia of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale he wrote in 1844.
In a magical landscape the snow is falling all around in the bewitching narrative of an evil “snow queen” who captures hearts and turns them into ice. Incredible designer Margie Jervis has dressed the queen (Lenny Mendez) in icy white, glittering sparkles from head to toe.
Storyteller Ole Lukeoje (Gus Knapp) introduces us to Kai (Henry Gill) and Gerda (Zoe Folse-Sibert) whose strong friendship unravels when the mean queen captures Kai, causing Kai and Gerda to split up when he goes missing-in-action.
Like all good friends whose relationship remains steadfast when things go awry, Gerda refuses to accept her friend’s disappearance and it’s off she wanders to find Kai.
Through an odd forest, she strides confidently and unafraid, willing to take on all that’s evil in the search for her friend, believing in herself that she will find Kai.
On her hunt, she encounters several booby traps of characters, including my favorites, the “flowers” adorned with the highest headgear one can imagine for children (or adults) to wear and move in. These “flowers” are especially talented with lots of good advice and they sing!
(Jervis’s costumes and scenic designs are prizewinners. The Flowers are Madeline Varho, Cora Brock, Isabella Silverman, Emma Howell, Aline Dela Cruz, Alison Harman, Andrea Valenzuela, Marianne Meade, Sophie Silva, Emerson Thiebert, Kelso Via Hunt, June Tuss, Emerson Kelleher, Sarah O’Halloran and Clare Corley.)
Plus, there are “weeds” in this group, down below! Bad weeds, irritating weeds, irksome little upstarts which lay down and mess up the beautiful landscape. (Emre Silva, Alec Goldenberg and Miles Weiss are these “weeds.”)
Then there is the “river,” another of my favorites in this vast character count of 25, portrayed by Diane Alison and Marie Solander who are held together like conjoined twins with a rod across their shoulders and a blue, waving gown flowing behind them as they continuously move in unison and talk in an hilarious scene with smart lines. I almost cried a river.
On her way to find Kai, Gerda also meets fancily dressed crows (Margaret Kruckenberg and Madeline Corley) in wedding gear, ready to say their marriage vows.
There’s also a big band of little people dressed in black whose marching in the woods to the sounds of their boots’ clapping reminded me instantly of the “Wizard of Oz” and its foot soldiers in chorus: “Oh-ee-oh! Oh-ee-oh!” (Matt Connor’s magnificent choreography, music and harmonies with lyrics by Stephen Gregory Smith, and music supervision by Warren Freeman heighten the delightful experience.)
All the necessary rehearsals of the theatre’s Learning Ensemble for children in grades 3 on up culminate in outstanding performances by the cast which exudes immense confidence and maturity in multiple roles, from the old women (including Nola Folse-Sibert), “very old men,” robbers and more.
Other creative team members are E. Augustus Knapp with the Learning Ensemble; Nicholas J. Goodman, stage management; Lynn Joslin, lighting; Will Stevenson, writer and James Morrison, projections.
Supposedly, Mr. Andersen wrote this revenge tale after opera singer Jenny Lind spurned his advances. Whose heart was cold?
Through April 2, 2023. Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and (Sunday), 4 p.m. Live stream, April 1, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for students; $20, adults; $15, livestream. Family 4-pak, $65. Use code 4PK. 410 South Maple Ave., #116, Falls Church. Guests must wear masks.
Look for the array of colorful flower hats hanging on the wall in Creative’s lobby.