Frozen REVIEW: It snows in London, and it’s magic | Theatre | Entertainment

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Disney’s mega-selling animated feature about two sisters forcibly separated by the prodigious power of one (Elsa) and the gung-ho vulnerability of the other (Anna) gets underneath the permafrost when live flesh and blood actors inhabit the roles.

The additional songs are fine but the entire edifice is built around THAT NUMBER. And they don’t mess it up.

When Samantha Barks’ Elsa, quietly contemplating her self-imposed isolation in what Superman fans would call her Fortress of Solitude, sings the opening bars to ‘Let It Go’ it almost goes unnoticed.

But by the time she reaches the first chorus, rising to a vocal crescendo as she unleashes her powers creating a crystalline Snow Queen/White Witch vision, the audience is agog at the awesome spectacle.

And when her costume transforms itself from sober green into shimmering, spangled white, the roar of delight shakes the walls of this beautifully restored theatre.

This is Disney magic on a grand scale.

The story remains intact, the characters well defined, from dodgy Prince Hans (Oliver Ormson) to endearing ice-seller Kristoff (Obioma Ugoala).

Barks is magnificent in her melancholy and Stephanie McKeon as her bouncy, irrepressible sister Anna is the perfect foil.

But it is the animated faves who delight the young audience; Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer are superbly realised by puppeteers (Craig Gallivan and Mikayla Jade/Ashley Birchall) and add humour to a relatively grim tale.

The sets are stupendous, gradually evolving with the aid of sophisticated video effects from the gothic gloom to frozen wasteland – complete with an ice bridge so long it must have been pushed in from the street outside the theatre.

A new additional sequence involving a remote sauna/general store and a chorus line of ‘naked’ Nordic types clutching birch twigs is a welcome intrusion of slapstick comedy.

But the message is loud and clear. Prince ‘Charming’ may not be the man you think he is. Sisterhood is better than falsehood. And that shy bloke in the corner might just be the man you are really looking for.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane until June 26, 2022

Tickets: 020 7087 7760

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