It feels special to be back in a theatre decorated with baubles and Christmas trees, where little girls in red coats are being taken to their first winter ballet.
This Scottish Ballet version of The Snow Queen, choreographed by Christopher Hampson, with music by Rimsky Korsakov was first staged in 2019 and has been revived as a fitting festive treat.
Snowflakes flutter from the sky, sheets of ice shatter into shards of glass and all manner of enchantment take us into the icy unforgiving world of the frozen palace.
But there are also the colourful creatures of the travelling circus, scenes of the bustling market place and revelry beside travellers’ campfires in the heart of the forest.
The story, loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson, is the tale of Gerda, a girl in a red coat who would not give up on her love, even when a piece of ice in his heart turned him cold.
Gerda, played by Roseanna Leney, is such a winsome creature, she seems to float above the stage. Her soft gentle strength leave us in no doubt she will triumph.
But Constance Deverney-Laurence as the Snow Queen is a force to be reckoned with. Sexy, ruthless and slightly mechanical, she can also summon white wolves and ice men with a click of her fingertips and blow magic dust in the eyes of her enemies.
Jerome Barnes, as Kai, is suitably torn between the softness of Gerda and the steely fierceness of the Queen, dancing alternate duets with both and yielding to the style of one and then the other.
The music of Rimsky Korsakov, arranged by Richard Honner, provides moments of eerie magic and soaring emotion, interspersed with interludes of revelry, carousing and delight. The Scottish Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Jean-Claude Picard, deliver a beautifully atmospheric performance.
Members of the Scottish Ballet tumble across the stage as circus performers, stalk menacingly as frosty spirits and gambol and waltz around the lively town square. The five children in the cast are delightful additions to the company.
Lez Brotherson’s transformational set and Paul Pyani’s clever lighting are full of tricks – adding to a thoroughly entertaining production full of twists and turns.
A perfect tonic for these dark times, The Snow Queen carries us into the frozen heart of winter and reminds us that as long as there is love and courage in the world, all will be well.
The Snow Queen, Scottish Ballet Edinburgh, Festival Theatre:
19 November–10 December
Glasgow, Theatre Royal:
14 December 2022 – 8 January 2023
Aberdeen, His Majesty’s Theatre:
18 – 21 January 2023
Inverness, Eden Court:
25 – 28 January 2023
Newcastle, Theatre Royal:
1 –4 February 2023
Running time: 1hr 50mins (inc. 25 minute interval)