H.C. Andersen’ s The Snow Queen is one of his longest and most complex fairy tales. It follows the fiercely loyal Gerda on an epic quest to find her friend Kai after he disappears, abducted by the snow queen. The Polka Theatre’s adaptation of The Snow Queen is a clever play on children’s imagination, with dialogue that does not underestimate its audience and plenty of stimulating experiences. The four-strong cast carries the story in an engaging, humorous way without ever having to result in common cliches of children’s theatre, such as over narration and splashes of colour. In fact, the set and costume design reflect the cold nature of the piece. The character of Gerda is portrayed in a way that is rare amongst female heroines even today. She cannot be put into a box. She is not particularly strong but she is not particularly weak either. She simply is. Defined by her actions rather than labels. Isabelle Chiam’s portrayal of Gerda is an empowering role model for young girls.
The cast tells the story effectively by multi-rolling and utilising object manipulation in a fun and imaginative way. It is obvious to anyone who visits the Polka Theatre that they are passionate about making good, ambitious children’ s theatre. Everything about the theatre and the surrounding cafe and play area is deliberately designed so families can have a nice time together. The Snow Queen is an ever-relevant story, teaching children that nothing lasts forever and they should enjoy each moment to it’s fullest. - Disa Andersen