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Theatre Review: Frozen Jr | Spotlight Theatre

Disclaimer: Complimentary tickets were gifted for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own

Photo credit: Martin Holtom

When I started writing this review, i sort of suspected that the run would be long finished by the time I hit “Publish” but even I couldn’t have predicted just how long it would actually take me, for which I can only apologise.  Even so, I still wanted to take the time to congratulate the group on a fabulous production and tell you why you need to make sure to book their next one!

As huge fans of all things Disney, musicals and Spotlight, when the girls and I were invited to attend Spotlight Theatre’s production of Frozen Jr, there really was only one answer - YES!

Frozen Jr is adapted from the stage musical “Frozen”, which itself is adapted from the hugely popular Disney animated movie of the same name.  If you don’t already know what Frozen is about (which rock have you been living under?), here is a brief recap:

Frozen Jr tells the tale of two royal sisters, Elsa and Anna, in the mystical kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa is struggling to control her secret magical ice powers and her younger sister Anna has to embark on a perilous journey to reconnect with her sibling and save their kingdom from eternal winter.  Along the way, the sisters make some new friends and face some new enemies.

The roles of Elsa and Anna were shared over the course of the run, but for the purposes of this review I'll be talking about the performers we saw.

Queen Elsa is a part that would intimidate most adult performers, but if Emily Holder was nervous about taking on such an iconic role she certainly didn’t show it. Emily perfectly captured the emotional journey that Elsa goes on, from the scared and withdrawn beginnings to her triumphant glow-up in the unforgettable hit song "Let It Go". This is such a difficult song to sing and Emily handled it magnificently, with a strong, clear voice that blew the audience away!  

Amy Flatman gave a spirited, energetic performance as Elsa's younger sister, Anna. Amy had heaps of charisma and charm, and really nailed Anna's vibrant and sassy personality. Whether it was sharing romantic moments with Hans, bickering with Kristoff or giving heartfelt speeches to Elsa, Amy really could do it all! A performance to be really proud of!

We also saw Anna and Elsa in their younger years, played by Emily Taylor (Little Anna), Eliza Harrison (Little Elsa), Hemani Kader (Teen Anna) and Karin Hurst (Teen Elsa). All of the girls brought so much energy to their roles, no matter how briefly they appeared. The opening scene with the little sisters playing was particularly special, being both funny and also deeply emotional.

Prince Hans (of the Southern Isles, you know) must be such a fun part to play and Preston Nash certainly did a fantastic job.  I was particularly impressed with how he captured the different facets of Hans’ character, from his charming-prince act to his darker, hidden side.  He had great chemistry with Amy playing Anna and "Love is an Open Door" was a definite highlight.

Megan Holder completely melted my frozen heart as everyone’s favourite snowman, Olaf.  Megan displayed some remarkably expert comic timing, delivering Olaf’s famous lines with wit and clarity all while handling some rather impressive puppetry.

You can always count on George Young to give a solid performance and it was no different here in his portrayal of Kristoff, the disgruntled ice seller.  George really excelled at delivering Kristoff's dry, sarcastic humour. I very much enjoyed watching the banter between Kristoff and Anna but I think the relationship between Kristoff and his faithful reindeer, Sven was even more precious.

Speaking of Sven, I thought Scarlett Coleman-Smith did a fantastic job of turning what could have been a forgettable part into something really scene stealing.  While under the constraints of quite a cumbersome costume, she still managed to give Sven some great expression and characterisation and also provided the audience with plenty of laughs.

Also displaying some high quality comedy was Tom Blakely as the Duke of Weasleton, I mean Weselton.  Tom's delivery and facial expressions were absolutely spot on and he made the most of this larger than life character to really keep the audience's attention.

Other notable performances came from Bria Spencer and Evie Andrew as Pabbie and Bulda, Hemi Lewis and Lucy Horton as King Agnarr and Queen Iduna and Jason Thompson as Oaken. All of the speaking parts were incredibly precise and well-acted, showing off the sheer amount of talent and ability in the group.

The principal cast were well supported by the dedicated and enthusiastic ensemble, who created a lovely vocal sound and also showcased the vibrant choreography. I particularly appreciated the use of the snowflake chorus, which I thought was a particularly imaginative way of depicting Elsa's icy powers.

Although Spotlight Theatre is a theatrical company, producing multiple shows a year, it is also a theatre school. It provides weekly classes in dancing, singing and acting as well as more specialist classes and shows like Frozen Jr are a testament to the hard work and training that Amanda and her team have given to all of their students.

The students themselves are obviously being taught all of the skills necessary to put on a high quality performance and, more importantly, it looks like they're having a lot of fun doing it. As well as the annual musical, there are also annual showcases where all of the students get to show off everything they have learned. If you think your budding theatre performer might like to get involved, then check out the Spotlight website for information on the classes available.

Thanks again to Spotlight Theatre for inviting us along to another fabulous, talent-filled evening and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.



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