Bezerk Productions run drama classes, youth theatre and fun, family-friendly shows for young casts across Reading. This Christmas they celebrate the festive season with a suitably wintery production of ‘The Snow Queen’, at Woodley’s Oakwood Centre.
It’s a musical take on Hans Christian Andersen’s story which inspired the Disney smash ‘Frozen’, and is a classic fairytale of a kind-hearted young person going against the odds to overcome evil.
In the packed 100-minute run time, we join Gerda (a confident and plucky Millie Double) as she journeys through strange lands to save her best friend Kai (Josh Wood, who’s touching and sincere). Kai’s in the clutches of the ice cold Snow Queen (played with strong imperial frostiness by Manon Green) who is set on turning the world, and our hearts, to ice.
Along the way Gerda encounters a murder of talking crows, a witch, the wise woman of the North, royalty and a flying reindeer; each encounter is its own beautiful mini story from a playful, alluring world.
The strong ensemble cast help lead our way through that world, making talking flowers and singing rivers believable and charming. There are some notable standouts from the strong cast, including a seriously sassy troll with attitude (Isty Cole, image below), the leather clad leader of a rough tough robber gang (Rebecca Atkins) and a barmy RAF-hot shot wannabe crow (Jake Eade).
Despite a limited stage design, the show still looks fantastical, with hanging icicles, hand drawn-effect video illustrations and interactive props helping us feel at home in Gerda’s dream-like world.
Costuming is also high quality with the Snow Queen swathed in chilling, metallic headgear, the soldiers conveying their futuristic menace in neon face masks and a river made of tulle spouting from a tutu. Flying is represented by some freewheeling aerial acrobatics – a very impressive team of Bobbie Hardy, Kirsty Wardle, Holly Lane-Sellers and Imogen Franklin.
It’s all soundtracked by a live band in the corner of the stage, including an ethereal harp, that really gives an added depth to the musical numbers, which all the young cast belt out with confidence.
Bezerk’s production of ‘The Snow Queen’ is full of charm and warmth, and there’s not a scrap of cold-heartedness in it. It’s a show for all the family that will inspire the child in all of us.
The Snow Queen is at The Oakwood Centre, Woodley until Sunday 16 December, read more.
All images courtesy of Salvo Toscano.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.