Angie Johnson is full of admiration for four playing all roles

My yuletide always begins with the Pegasus Theatre Christmas show and this year’s production of The Snow Queen has not disappointed.

This is the first in-house festive show the Pegasus have produced and they have got off to a flying start.

This classic Hans Christian Andersen tale has been imaginatively adapted by award-winning children’s writer Mike Kenny, and though he is very faithful to the original he is not afraid to pep things up with some fresh ideas too.

One of these is the framing of the tale — in this version a group of four children in a playground decide to act out the story as a game. They each take on the role of interlocutor for one or more parts of the tale, a perfect convention for a story which begins with the shattering of a magic mirror whose shards scatter across the earth causing turmoil.

The show is made up of seven chapters following young Gerda’s journey to rescue her best friend Kai, abducted by the evil Snow Queen. On the way she meets many different characters, such as the sorceress, the magic river, a robber girl, talking crow, and many more.

The cast of four play all these roles, and each is very well realised. Imagination is the key element here — the actors have created fully-formed characters in brief, fast-moving scenes using imagery, ingenuity and wit. Abigail Hood is a charming Gerda, while Oliver Wellington, Géhane Strehler, and Jeremy Barlow are also first class in their many different roles.

Director Jonathan Lloyd and designer Liz Cooke have done wonders in bringing this epic tale to life in the intimate Pegasus theatre space.

The lighting and animation by Arnim Freiss is genius and Julian Butlers’ music evocative. The overall effect is magical and full of surprises — the expression ‘it’s all done with smoke and mirrors’ was never so apt as it is here.

The Snow Queen has always been my favourite Andersen story. It contains real psychological depth and subtlety and this fine production, which runs until the new year, does it proud.

The Snow Queen
Pegasus Theatre
Until January 4
Box office: Call 01865 812150 or visit