[MUSICAL THEATRE/Family/Disney ~ AUS]
Adelaide Festival Theatre, Sat 28 May, 2022.
If this was going to be a very short review (not my forté) it would read like this. At the breathtaking and magical conclusion to the first act of Frozen The Musical, my nine-year-old was on their feet screaming ‘THAT WAS AMAZING – THAT WAS AMAZING’. And it really was!
Disney musicals are not exactly challenging as a general rule. There are Princesses and Princes and singing and dancing creatures, overcoming an overcome-able foe or situation, with a moral and no rude words. There are lots of sparkles and warm hits to the feels and a lot of happy people in the audience.
Tonight everybody leaves with smiles on their dials, children (of all ages) are bouncing up and down chirping to their parents about their favourite bits, singing Let It Go, dizzy from the blitz of sounds, sights and wonder of this spectacular and wonderful show.
On the off chance you have never stumbled across Frozen before today, it is the story of two young Princesses, Elsa and Anna, in the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has a magical power over snow and ice, which her parents want her to hide for fear of scaring the people. But kids with magic powers will be kids with magic powers – there is an accident and Anna gets hurt. The King and Queen call on the magic trolls to save Anna and erase all memory of magic, but can’t do anything to remove the magic from Elsa, who must control and suppress the potential danger.
The parents go off on a quest to find a cure and, well, it doesn’t go well, leaving the children to grow up on their own. Elsa turns 18, and is crowned Queen, and the public are allowed into the castle for the first time in years. There is an incident where her growing power explodes in an ice storm, terrifying the people and driving Elsa to flee to the mountain to remove her powers from endangering her people and her sister. Anna heads off to try and save her sister, while the citizens head to rescue Anna and capture the Queen.
Frozen The Musical delivers everything you could want and more from a Frozen musical. All the characters are the ones you love (or hate), the incredible staging puts you right in the middle of the magical world of Arendelle and the combination of impressive sets and dazzling use of projections and effects is brilliant. The songs are either the ones already burned into your brain from watching the movie on repeat with your young kids and cousins, or they are new additions, which are often highlights. The costuming is sterling with quick changes and intricate attention to detail.
While the lead role of the show is the tortured and magical Elsa portrayed by the excellent Jemma Rix, (WICKED, Ghost The Musical, Evita), it really is an impressive ensemble piece. Thomas McGuane as the handsome (and heartbreaker) Hans, and the terrific Aljin Abella as the comic Prince of Weasleton, are splendidly unpleasant. The arctic ice salesman Kristoff is played by the wonderful Sean Sinclair, who combines great dance skills, impressive voice and great comedic delivery. Two of the cast that impressed our nine year old were Sven (the reindeer) and Olaf The Snowman. I wondered how they’d pull off an animated snowman who is dis-and re-connected more than once, but with a fantastic bit of costuming and an impressive talent in Matt Lee, that snowman comes to life. The large supporting cast is athletic, limber, and super talented (“How do they jump so high Dad?”, “I don’t know honey.”).
So everybody is great, but special applause must go to the wonderful Courtney Monsma (SIX The Musical, Aladdin, MAMMA MIA) who absolutely shines in her role as the vivacious, adventurous and brave Anna. While Elsa is all angsty and brooding under her burden of responsibly and the fear of her powers, Anna just wants her sister back, and to play, and have fun, and meet boys. Every moment Monsma is on the stage she is magnetic. She sings and dances and is unstoppable.
Some of the new numbers are fab, especially the hilarious and can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head-for-days catchy Hygge (pronounced “Hoo-Ga”), with a just hysterical dance routine and much more implied nudity than anybody expected (*there is no actual nudity). It is a super fun number and fine addition to the list of all time bits of theatrical staging I have ever experienced.
Look probably if you are into death metal or Wagnerian opera or ‘proper theatre’, perhaps Frozen The Musical isn’t the show for you. My wife generally ‘doesn’t like musical theatre’ and she LOVED this show (as did I and the nine-year-old). If you want to step out of this world and into a magical Disney one, get yourself Frozen.
It’s Disney-tastic. Frozen The Musical is 100% Hygge!
Frozen The Musical continues at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times, until Sun 7 Aug.
Book at Ticketek and Adelaide Festival Centre. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.