Norfox Young People's Theatre Company have taken on a challenge with this dark fable based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
You know that this is not going to be a traditional version of the story, as soon as you hear the narrator's chatty opening dialogue, including admonishments about mobile phones and noisy sweet wrappers. This is going to be more original and entertaining than that.
A cast of twenty fifteen- to eighteen-year-olds play everyone from the children to the elderly of the village. Most of them play at least two different characters. However, both the narrator and the heroine Ana are the exceptions to this and are both excellently done by the young actresses.
The rest of the cast show a variety of skills and abilities, but all are capable of producing convincing performances. Liz Postlethwaite, who also adapted the play, directs her young cast into creating not only moments of pathos but also moments of comedy with aplomb that many mature actors would be envious of.
Cleverly written to keep the story flowing but also leaving chunks of the story in the form of a monologue, Ms Postlethwaite gives the audience not only the visual stimuli but also still allows that precious thing – imagination – something the production plays upon for the more gruesome sections.
Lara Booth's visually striking set, made up of points and angles, delineated spaces without fully defining them, allowing the actors to treat a door as being present or absent as the story required. Ben Moores, as movement director, integrates dance-like moves into the whole production. The dancing itself is simple, yet very stylish.
This talented young cast with professional guidance have produced a beautifully crafted evening's entertainment. They fully deserve success.