Despite firm intentions to the contrary, Guy James Whitworth has his icy cold heart thoroughly defrosted by the hottest musical in town.
Years ago, when I lived in London, I used to be what is officially referred to as ‘a show queen’. I lived for big musical theatrical productions and was out at the West End most weeks. However, when I moved to Sydney, I found most local theatre (to paraphrase Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard) a bit ‘small’.
I felt that many Sydney productions just couldn’t compete with the big West End spectacles I was used to.
Pre-Covid-19, I would still venture out to the theatre, but not as often, and I suppose without realising it, I became one of those hard to impress, cynical queens who thought nothing was quite up to scratch.
However … From the very first line muttered/sung on stage of Frozen the Musical, “Do you want to build a snowman?” the sublime effortless fun of the story pulled me in. I’d obviously forgotten how enjoyable quality musical theatre can be!
I won’t deny my hesitations before sitting down in the Capitol Theatre on Thursday night for the production, which was originally due to start its Sydney season in July but was delayed by Covid. Obviously, Frozen the Musical is adapted from Frozen the Oscar-winning film, which I’m just going to fess up to here and now, I’ve never seen. But you really don’t need to have seen it in order to enjoy this production.
It is expertly brought to the stage by acclaimed Director Michael Grandage. Literally as the first glittery snowflake settled lightly on stage, both myself and my partner – who, FYI, is as cynical as I am – were chuckling, singing along, stomping our feet, cheering and toe tapping the entire way.
The cast were all spectacular, but special nods of acknowledgement go to the comedic talents of lead Courtney Monsma, who plays Anna. Yes, the girl can sing, but she can also deliver deadpan, slapstick and subtle humour in equal measure. Jemma Rix who plays co-lead Elsa, could quite honestly mumble the telephone book down a drain pipe and would bring power, range and elegance to the performance. Bravo, ladies!
A couple of male cast members tried their best to steal the show, and without doubt, came close. Sean Sinclair who plays love interest Kristoff, is certainly easy on both the eyes and ears. Former reality TV show judge Matt Lee turns in a surreal performance as Olaf the snowman, adding an element of jolly, random eccentricity to the show.
The big show tune, that even I am aware of, Let it Go, was obviously a standout moment, with breathtaking staging and special effects that would put the biggest and best London spectaculars to shame.
Indeed, back in London, I’d rarely stand up to applaud at the end of a show; a production would have to be a very special kind of special to deserve a standing ovation. But on Thursday night as the crowd rose and roared, my partner and I looked at each other, dropped all claims to pretentiousness and stood and hollered like the rest of them.
Hurrah! Finally, Sydney has a fun reason to head back to the theatre. Go get your heart melted.
Frozen the Musical plays the Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Sydney until Saturday, 1 May. Visit frozenthemusical.com.au for tickets and more information.
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