As Australia moves into its typical firey summer, an icy chill has taken over the Capitol Theatre.
Based on the 2013 film of the same name, Frozen follows sisters Elsa and Anna on a journey to save their kingdom of Arendelle. The musical made its Broadway debut in 2018, and was playing up until the forced COVID closures. The Sydney production is the first to premiere out of the United States, with a West End run scheduled for 2021. The stage production has some slight variances from the film – most notably, hidden forest folk instead of trolls – but is magical nonetheless. The score has been expanded by writing duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the same team behind the film’s iconic soundtrack. Our production also sees the addition of a new duet for Anna and Elsa, “I Can’t Lose You,” which was added to the U.S. touring production of the show in place of “First The First Time In Forever (Reprise)”.
Walking into the Capitol was electrifying. As a Melbournian, the sheer thought of being in a theatre post-lockdown was totally foreign. But seeing everything up and running brought a familiar comfort, despite the additional COVID-safe protocols being implemented. Audiences arrived at staggered times, and were required to register details via QR code for contact tracing purposes. Besides this, and the requirement of masks being worn throughout the duration of the show, the theatre experience remained unchanged.
The new songs fit perfectly with the show. It really does feel like they were always there, a credit to Disney retaining the original composer and lyricist for the stage adaptation. The orchestra, lead by Music Director David Young, played through the score with ease, with the show’s opening “Vuelie” truly mesmerising.
Jemma Rix and Courtney Monsma are utterly magical as the royal sisters. They play off each other wonderfully, with Jemma’s Elsa brilliantly stoic and icy, compared to Courtney’s bright and warm Anna. The pair both breezed through their numbers, with “For The First Time In Forever” a lovely moment. Courtney is the epitome of a Disney Princess, with just the right combination of whimsy and quirk. Jemma is, to no surprise, a powerhouse Elsa. A particular highlight was her 11 o’clock number, “Monster,” accompanied by Hans and the male ensemble. As if “Let It Go” wasn’t impressive enough, this song really showed what Jemma is capable of.
Matt Lee is a charming Olaf, with his “In Summer” garnering a roaring applause. Thomas McGuane is fantastic as Hans. Without spoiling too much, he is able to masterfully shift his character. Sean Sinclair’s Kristoff was kind and charismatic, pairing well with the incredible Sven puppet (controlled by Lochie McIntyre at opening).
The young Anna and Elsa (played by Chloe Delle-Vedove and Deeana Cheong Foo respectively) were gorgeous, hilarious, and unbelievably talented. Another standout was Blake Appelqvist’s charmingly eccentric Oaken, accompanied by the scantily-clad Oaken clan in Act Two’s opener, “Hygge.”
The ensemble were an absolute force Each switching between several different characters, their vocal blend was magnificent, particularly in the Indigenous Saami and Scandinavian inspired sections.
Credit must also be given to the special effects (Jeremy Chernick), lighting design (Natasha Katz), video design (Finn Ross), and costume and scenic design (Christopher Oram). These elements combined to transport audiences to Arendelle, and were particularly impressive as Elsa’s icy winter overtook the town.
Frozen is a prime example of Disney magic. A show for both young and old, its message rings true – you don’t need a Prince to sweep you off your feet and save the day, but rather, someone who loves you unconditionally. Anna and Elsa’s story has changed the course of fairy tales for the better, and there is a reason that so many young children look up to these strong, intelligent, feminist characters.
Producer and President of Disney Theatricals Thomas Schumacher’s words after bows could not have been more true – live theatre is back. 2020 has been hard for Australians, and Frozen is the perfect cool down after a scorcher of a year.
The fear and cold are gone – it’s time to let the sun shine on.
Frozen is currently playing at The Capitol Theatre, Sydney.
For tickets and more information, visit frozenthemusical.com.au