REVIEW: FROZEN THE MUSICAL (St. James Theatre) ★★★
Frozen the Musical tells the story of a relationship between two sisters, Elsa and Anna (who also happen to be princesses). Elsa has magical powers which she can’t control and her parents keep her hidden away for fear of people finding out. But after their parents die unexpectedly and Elsa is next in line to the throne, she has no choice but to come out of hiding, accidentally causing the kingdom to become frozen in an eternal winter, which nearly kills Anna. Elsa runs away but Anna follows. Together they go on a journey in search of true love which is the only way to save the kingdom.
Frozen the Musical does exactly what it says on the tin. If you love the film and want to see it performed live on stage along with the hit songs then you will love this show. Sadly though, it felt like it was transported from screen to stage without too much thought for making it in to a really amazing theatre show. There aren’t enough songs to fill two and a half hours and a lot of it feels like film score interlude music rather than fully fledged musical theatre songs. Even the new big song ‘Monster’ that was written to try to match the success of ‘Let It Go’ never really seems to get going or hit the mark.
Speaking of the iconic song ‘Let It Go’, which closes act 1, I had seen videos on YouTube of this performance and expected seeing it live on stage to be even more spectacular, emerged in the scenery, the smoke and that iconic dress transformation. Sadly it was underwhelming – the magic costume change didn’t feel particularly amazing and the shards of ice that appeared from under the stage looked incredibly plastic.
Since hearing that Samantha Barks will take on the role of Elsa when the London production comes to the West End next year, I was adamant that I wanted to see Caissie Levy (who originated the role) perform as I’ve always loved her as a performer. She was great and although I was also hoping to see Patti Murin as Anna, her understudy Aisha Jackson was phenomenal and it was so refreshing to see a black actress playing a princess, especially in front of an audience of so many children, some of whom probably only thought princesses were white because of the way they are usually portrayed in films.
Joe Carroll and Noah J. Ricketts gave notable performances as Hans and Kristoff and Olaf, played by Jeremy David did a splendid job. Special mention must go to Fiona Morgan Quinn who played Young Anna. Her smile was infectious and her singing was beautiful. I don’t think this will be the last we see of her on stage.
Don’t forget to wear your Elsa dress if you go to see Frozen the Musical as I felt incredibly underdressed compared to all the children in the audience who made such an effort for the show they had obviously waited a long time to see.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Deen Van Meer
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