Disney Theatrical Productions
Crown Theatre Perth
Inspired by Hans Cristian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Disney’s 2013 hit movie Frozen is a story about loneliness, sacrifice and the power of sisterly love. With music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and story by Jennifer Lee, this Disney hit film has been turned into a stage production directed by Michael Grandage, which premiered in 2017.
The curtain rises to expose the towering castle interior; the set so grandiose it made me feel like we were really in a Disney movie. The young sisters are playing in the castle when Elsa accidentally hurts Anna; discovering the dangers and strength of her magical freezing powers. The hit song Do You Want to Build a Snowman begins with young Anna singing and riding her bike inside the castle.
Photos by Lisa Tomasetti
Cut to Elsa and Anna’s parents saying goodbye to the girls as they head out on a trip, just before we learn of their tragic fate. Cut back to Do You Want to Build a Snowman still set inside the castle, now being sung by adult Anna. Just like in the movie, the transition from then to now, transforming their childhood days into current day translated flawlessly on stage.
On the day of Elsa’s crowning, she has an outburst which causes the whole of Arendelle to freeze over. Elsa flees the castle to lose herself far away where she can’t hurt anyone else, and we follow Anna’s journey to finding and reuniting with her sister and saving their city together.
The set transforms into multiple locations throughout the work including inside the castle, the ice palace, the magical forest and icy mountain top. The physical set, combined with the video and lighting projections and special effects made for a breath-taking sight which was a work of art in itself. Transporting the 65 tonnes of sets and lighting across the Nullarbor to Perth took 22 semi-trailers and a 100-person strong team.
The costumes; all made in Australia saw a 70-person team working their magic, with Elsa’s dress alone holding fourteen thousand beads and crystals. Janet Hine oversees the 440 costumes, 145 wigs, 90 handmade hats and 120 pairs of custom-made shoes to make up the phenomenal costuming we see on stage.
Courtney Monsma’s performance in the role of Anna was exquisite. Her comedic timing was impeccable, her characterisation adorable and her voice, superb. Her stage presence was infectious; I couldn’t take my eyes off her whenever she was on stage. In the role Elsa, Jemma Rix’s performance left the entire audience on the edge of their seats. Opening the final scene of act one (the moment we’ve all been waiting for), that one handed piano intro that everyone knows so well started and you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. It’s a daunting task to perform a piece that is so well known and loved and I felt like the whole audience held their breath when she entered the stage.
But there’s a reason Jemma Rix keeps getting cast in these epic roles; her vocal prowess is second to none. While her opening numbers felt quite contained, it only added to the depth of transformation and build up in this climactic number. One thing I love about live performance is how it can transport you to a completely different world. Between the set transitions and magical costume changes, the singing, the acting – Rix’s performance of Let it Go epitomised this extraordinary feeling; completely transporting me to the world of Arendelle.
In the role of Olaf, Matt Lee brought this tap-dancing snowman puppet to life in a humorous and highly skilled performance. Coordinating eyebrow raises, blinking, mouth movement, arms and feet; Lee’s physical and vocal characterisation was spectacular. Special mention must go to Sean Sinclair’s charming and emotive performance of Kristoff, Lochie McIntyre’s spectacular work as Sven, Aljin Abella’s Weselton and Thomas McGuane’s portrayal of Hans.
Combining exquisite sets, lighting, costume and choreography with some world class artists and a lot of sparkles; makes this stage production of Frozen an epic, magical, unmissable show.