The iconic annual Gaiety Panto will return this year with a production of Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale The Snow Queen.
Taking place from November 25 to January 6, the Gaiety promise an ‘extravaganza’ that will bring audiences “a tale of friendship and love, that as always conquers evil,” as well as a show “full of song and dance and the odd slippery surprise”.
Based on the same 1894 Danish story that inspired Disney’s runaway smash hit animation Frozen in 2013, the play centres on the evil titular character who with chilling treachery, kidnaps one half of a beloved couple and casts a ‘sub-zero spell’. This leads to our hero embarking on an adventure, trekking through storm and blizzard to find his lost love. According to the Gaiety, the show will put to the test whether true love can melt a frozen heart…
Irish native and West End star Louise Bowden will star as the Snow Queen. No stranger to musicals, the actress earned raves for her lead roles on stage in acclaimed shows such as Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain and We Will Rock You.
Nicholas Grennell (The Clinic, The Tudors) will play Jack Frost, while the legendary Joe Conlan returns as the Panto Dame, the recurring original character and constant figure throughout all the Gaiety’s musical retellings of fairy tales. Daryn Crosbie is directing.
For those visiting or newly arrived in Ireland, panto stands for pantomime and is a form of theatre developed in Western culture. Aimed at children and often taking place during the Christmas and New Year season, it employs gender-crossing actors and combines topical humour with a story based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale.
Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing and is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.
The Gaiety Theatre has hosted their Christmas Panto every year since 1873, cementing the show as an important part of Irish culture. The event always generates plenty of publicity and interest. As the Gaiety note, families often come from far and wide to see it and for many the show has become as much of a family Christmas tradition as Santa himself.
Recent stories given the panto treatment by the theatre include Robin Hood, Little Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan.
The Gaiety will have to work hard to top last year’s take on Rapunzel which earned great reviews. The Irish Independent called it ‘the best Gaiety Panto yet’ praising it for its interactive element, saying ‘the crowd lapped it up.’ Meanwhile, the Irish Mail on Sunday said it was ‘exceptional, high-tech and spectacular.’
However, the theatre seem confident, promising audiences will ‘shiver and shake with laughter as we follow the icy encounters of The Snow Queen as she tries to freeze the fun out of Christmas.’
Tickets are on sale now. They can be purchased in person at Ticketmaster outlets and Gaiety Theatre Box Offices or found online at www.gaietytheatre.ie or www.ticketmaster.ie. The price of a ticket is €19.50 (including the booking fee and restoration levy).
Meanwhile, to arrange group bookings contact +353 (0)1 646 8687 or send an e-mail [email protected]
The Gaiety Panto’s version of The Snow Queen will premiere just two weeks after Disney on Ice’s new show Dream Big will take place at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel from November 9-11. Both are aimed at children and feature new takes on Andersen’s classic fairy tale.