Dance review: Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Andrew Peasgood and Constance Devernay in Scottish Ballet's world premiere of Christopher Hampson's The Snow Queen. PIC: Andy Ross
Andrew Peasgood and Constance Devernay in Scottish Ballet's world premiere of Christopher Hampson's The Snow Queen. PIC: Andy Ross
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PICTURE a Christmas card filled with merrymakers from a bygone era, dressed in flat caps and overcoats, buying chestnuts in a flurry of falling snow. Then bring the whole thing to life, with dancing couples, playful children and a passing circus troupe to entertain the crowds.

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen, Edinburgh Festival Theatre ****

It’s an image that wraps you up in traditional festive charm, and warms you despite the chill emanating from the show’s central character. Created by choreographer Christopher Hampson and designer Lez Brotherston, Scottish Ballet’s new take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen is easy on the eye in every way.

Brotherston’s sets and costume take us from a bustling industrial town to a gypsy campfire, then on to the Queen’s icy palace via a wintery woodland populated by dancing Jack Frosts, snow flakes and fluffy white wolves. Each scene carries robust choreography, beautifully delivered to a pick ‘n’ mix of Rimsky Korsakov classics.

Andersen’s original story is complex and patchy, but by turning his “Robber Girl” into the Snow Queen’s sister who runs away, we finally have a reason the eponymous royal is so nasty – she misses her sibling. And anyone who gives a two-dimensional evil female fairytale character a back-
story we can empathise with gets my vote.

A slight tweak to the ending would offer a more satisfying dramatic arc and feel less unintentionally comedic, but by this point, Hampson and Brotherston have given us enough romance and sparkle to send the audience off happy regardless.

KELLY APTER

Until 29 December