On Thursday 21st of July 2022, I went to see Frozen at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Do you want to build a snowman? Whatever the weather, now you can with a trip to Disney’s stunning stage version of Frozen at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Featuring some of the most awe-inspiring special effects ever seen in the West End, Disney’s Frozen the West End Musical will delight and thrill kids and adults alike.
This is one of those shows that I don’t feel a desperate need to explain the story of…? Much like Beauty and the Beast, this one is a classic – despite being released many years later, in what critics are calling ‘Disney’s renaissance era’. That said, let’s quickly run through the tale…
Sisters Anna and Elsa were close as kids. But something supernatural severed their bond! Elsa has magical powers which she struggles to control and as she got older, these powers endangered not only her sister, but the entire kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa was forced to keep her powers hidden, and thus spent her childhood separated from her sister.
Then their parents were killed, meaning Elsa had to be crowned Queen of Arendelle – but when Elsa’s supernatural powers were revealed, she was forced to flee her kingdom.
Meanwhile, Anna has fallen in love with the handsome Prince Hans of the West Isles, but is he as perfect as he seems? Leaving him in charge, Anna sets off in search of her sister. With the kingdom now in the icy grip of winter, Anna encounters Sámi iceman Kristoff and his trusty reindeer Sven, and a friendship blossoms.
Can Anna and her new friends reach Elsa in time to save the kingdom from perpetual winter? Will Hans or Kristoff win Anna’s heart? All will be revealed…
Oh. My. Goodness. I absolutely adored the aesthetics in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. I was so sure I’d been to this place before, as we approached from outside – but the interior didn’t ring any bells for me. So I did some digging and found out it’s actually been refurbed over two years (costing roughly £60M, no biggie) and that’s why it looks so darn snazzy. That said, it hasn’t been hideously modernised, thank goodness. It still has that old theatre vibe – just a bit more shiny and sleek. Wanna drool over it as I did? Have a look-see here!
Okay, moving on from my obsession with the theatre… of course, we expected kids to be in the audience for this production. As someone who doesn’t spend heaps of time with kids, or seek to (sorry, don’t hate on me for this), I’d mentally prepared for there to be noisy young’uns in the audience, screeching in the queue for the loo and running around during the interval. What I hadn’t prepared for were the absolutely beautiful sparkling mini Elsas and Annas, sitting perfectly quietly in their seats or on parents’ laps and not shouting or screeching – but gasping and ‘wow’ing in hushed voices when something incredible happened on stage. Highlights were when (SPOILER) Elsa’s dress flew away during ‘Let It Go’ (the GASPS were unreal levels of cute, and added to the magic of the spectacle, for sure) and when (SPOILER) Hans told Elsa her sister was dead – a tiny voice somewhere in the Royal Circle shrieked ‘but she’s not! He’s LYING!’
I have very little to say about the cast other than WHOA. They were a truly talented bunch, and of course a special sparkly shout-out has to go to the queen herself, Samantha Barks. I hadn’t realised, but she’s only just come back to Arendelle after a short time off for her wedding, so seeing her felt like such a privilege. She’s honestly one of the most remarkable performers – her Elsa was so beautifully believable, and her voice was not only pitch perfect and powerful, it also had this unique smoothness and comfort in it. It was a voice you could marvel at, but also trust completely. I’d say she was my MVP, but… I feel like that title has to be split between the performers who brought Sven and Olaf to life – Ashley Birchall and Craig Gallivan. The puppetry was a feat in itself, but the way they were able to not just voice but be the creatures was wonderful.
The extra bits.
So as you may know, there were only 6 songs in the original Disney movie, and the whole thing was only 100 minutes long. The West End show was 2 and a quarter hours, including an interval. So, a fun fact about this show (one of a few I’ve shared below!) is that they actually added quite a few more songs to the book! The audience seemed to really enjoy all the new bits, myself included – although at times certain conversations/short musical interludes did seem like inconsequential filler devices… that may seem harsh, sorry! Maybe I just feel that way because the run-up to the magnificent ending to the first act seemed to be so long – I was too excited to Let It Go!
The set was marvellous, transitions were seamless, the projections were very well- and appropriately used (much like Beauty & the Beast, which I saw recently at the Palladium!), and the music gave me chills. I made sure I stayed right til the end to applaud the conductor and their orchestra – as many others did, which was refreshing to see, as I’ll often notice hundreds of audience members flying off their seats and pushing through the emergency exits like they’re on fire, when in reality they just want to make the penultimate train home. Clearly everyone felt the same as I did. And while there was a bit of a muddle getting out of the theatre, it brought me a lot of joy to see the little Elsas dancing down the stairs and out the doors.
- The bar staff at Theatre Royal Drury Lane were exceptional. I’ve never been so relaxed ordering a drink during an interval!
- I’d really like more shows to begin at 7pm, please. 7:30 suddenly seems a little bit too late – anyone else??
- I greatly enjoyed doing some research on YouTube and coming across this video about the production and how it came to be in the West End. Beautiful!
Finally, just for fun and courtesy of From the Box Office’s tickets page, here are a few facts about Frozen, the musical…
One of the most memorable scenes in both the movie and stage show is the musical number ‘Let It Go!’ – Elsa’s iconic dress in that scene is even more impressive on stage – and took over 400 hours to make!
It takes a lot of ice to stay Frozen. When Elsa unleashes her full powers, it’s made possible by high-tech video along with ensemble members who play snowstorms – many of the beautiful patterns you see are made by Frozen’s human cast members creating the swirling patterns that you see solidify into ice. The production also uses Swarovski crystals, which descend from the spaces above the stage to create the stunning effects of snow crystals.
New songs were added by the creative team to make Frozen the West End Musical – making it 12 in total. The original Disney animation has 6.
Do YOU know any more facts? Feel free to comment, or tweet them my way!
Get your lovely selves down to Theatre Royal Drury Lane for a truly enchanting experience seeing this super cool – and at times chilling – production! Tickets start at £30 when you buy them through From the Box Office!
I was given these tickets for review purposes; I promise that in no way affects my opinion of the show.
all photos used in this post are from the Frozen West End website gallery!