REVIEW: Frozen at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in 2013 when it was released, it was later over taken by its own sequel and the Lion King remake in 2019. After the huge success of the film almost 10 years ago, it was a natural step for Disney to adapt this story for the stage.

In what appears to be a come back for Disney theatrical, Frozen joins the list of Disney musicals that are playing here in the UK. Joining the long running Lion King in the West End and on tour, Mary Poppins over at the Prince Edward and Beauty and the Beast and Bedknobs and Broomsticks playing across the country, Frozen plays at the ever iconic Theater Royal Drury Lane. But does the Musical live up to the success of the film?

Following from their success with the original animated film, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez write the additional songs for the show. Whilst the classics that we loved from the film like ‘Let it Go’, ‘Do you want to Build a Snowman’ and ‘Love is an open Door’ still remain in the show, the additional material doesn’t match the same level. The new songs aren’t memorable, apart from the new song for Elsa ‘Monster’ which is a great addition, the others just don’t hit the mark and fall flat.

The scenic and costume design, by Christopher Oram, really brings the story we all know and love to life. With the work of video designer Finn Ross, the set really comes to life. Beautiful costumes and an impressive spectacle, at some points we are left wanting more and its not terribly innovative but its beautiful to look at and sits right at home in the newly refurbished and stunning Theater Royal Drury Lane.

Directed and Choreographed by the wonderful Michael Grandage and Rob Ashford, this team really gel well together. Whilst some of the transitions were a little wet and awkward on the whole the show moved well. Ashford work really shone in the group numbers, which were the highlights of the show.

Starring Samantha Barks in the role made famous by the voice of Idina Menzel, Craig Gallivan as Olaf, Obioma Ugoala as Kristoff and Oliver Ormson as Hans. Anna is usually played by Stephanie McKeon but at this performance we had the pleasure of having Sarah O’Connor in the role. On the whole they all did an adequate job at filling the roles, there weren’t many choices made by the actors that made the story exciting or different from what we already know and it did feel a little like a ‘paint by numbers’ performance . I feel this would be down to directional choices and giving the children what they know from the film but as adults watching the show everything feels the same and the stakes weren’t high enough to create the drama needed to keep us engaged. This is also a fault in the book by Jennifer Lee, not enough personality was given to the characters in the writing for the performers to do much with. It lacked excitement.

A mention must be given to Michael Curry and his puppetry design, Olaf was gorgeous and translated so well on stage. It was almost like watching an animation live in front of us. The Sven puppet was also incredible, performed by Ashley Birchall and Mikayla Jade, it moved like a real reindeer and was a perfect addition to the show.

As I’ve previously said, the ensemble numbers are really when this show shines. The highlight of the show for me were Hygge, lead by wonderful understudy Matt Gillett as Oaken and Fixer Upper which gave the perfect opportunity for Emily Mae to shine as Bulda.

As a whole, the show is forgottentable. Whilst it is perfect for any young fan of the film it lacks the excitement, magic and personality we expect from a West End show charging upwards of £150 a ticket.

Review by Mark Swale

Rating: ★★★

Seat: D18 Royal Circle | Price of Ticket: £125

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