‘For the First Time in Forever’… well ever! The much anticipated Disney’s Frozen Jr makes its debut in York at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre this week.
And we can always rely on York Stage to bring the highest standard of talent with each new production, and Frozen was no different – magic was truly in the air.
Disney’s Frozen Jr is at Joseph Rowntree Theatre from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 November.
I would be very surprised to find anyone who has not heard of the blockbuster movie that is now celebrating its 10th anniversary (can you believe it!) this year. But for those living under a rock, the Disney musical follows two princesses, sisters Anna and Elsa, who despite being best friends as children, are soon torn apart by Elsa’s Ice Powers and the accidents they can cause.
This only leads to their separation and a palace closed off to their kingdom; but when their parents are lost at sea, it’s Elsa’s responsibility to take her place as Queen and there can only be a rocky road ahead. Despite its dramatic plot, the musical offers lessons of love, friendship and bravery; something every child watching should embrace and feel inspired by.
And this 65 minute compacted junior version of the successful stage show, was performed by the highest calibre of talent. We first meet the adorable Young Anna (Beatrice Charlton) and Elsa (Megan Pickard), who opened the show with amazing energy – unwavering confidence at such a young age.
As the show progressed we eventually met our leading ladies; Chloe Amelie Lightfoot-Loftus’ mature and heartfelt Elsa, with an outstanding voice, and Kaia Stainton’s lovable Anna who’s enthusiasm was unmatched – her facial expressions alone had me in stitches.
Of course we cannot forget some of the most iconic characters; Olaf played by the sweet Ryan Addyman got a warm welcome from the audience as he emerged onto the stage, as did Sam Darcy’s Sven. It is no easy feat both acting and being a puppeteer yet they did so with ease.
In addition to the fabulous principal cast, we had individuals who stood out for their incredible characterisation. One of which was the Duke of Weasleton… sorry Weselton, Malachi Collins; from his accent to his demeanour, he played the character perfectly.
The soundtrack is as wonderful as ever and features all the much-loved classics: ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’, ‘Love is an Open Door’, and of course the iconic ‘Let It Go’ spectacularly performed by Lightfoot-Loftus.
However, it’s the new music I am a huge fan of; one of which, performed superbly by Paige Scott, was the song ‘Hygge’. Not only was her characterisation as Oaken first-rate, it was her dancing that stole the show – she has exceptional talent and you couldn’t help but want to get up and join in!
Big ensemble numbers like Olaf’s ‘Summer’ and act two’s upbeat ‘Fixer Upper’, were excellent opportunities to see the cast come together for pure Disney fun.
Danielle Mullan Hill’s choreography thrives yet again and you can see how hard every cast member has rehearsed to bring this excellent choreography to life. The staging itself may have been simple, with projections helping to emphasise the changing of location, but what was presented on it was not – the entire cast and creatives have produced a heartwarming show.
Whilst the Junior version of Frozen may not feature special effects to show Elsa’s powers, I adored the addition of the Snow Chorus who helped bring this magic to life. I even felt the choreography and their delivery was some of the best work York Stage has ever produced. Holly Hodcroft, Harvey Stevens, Emily Walker, Scarlet Wheeler and Kiki Wilcock should be extremely proud of the exceptional standard of dance they are offering within this production.
I can only congratulate the whole team led by director and producer Nik Briggs for yet another successful and sell-out production. I would say run and grab tickets as soon as you can, but with a sold out weekend in front of them, all I can say is if you have a ticket for this outstanding production… don’t let it go!
Disney’s Frozen Jr is at Joseph Rowntree Theatre until Saturday 4 November.