By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If more families were this musical and mellow at the holidays, we'd all have a better time getting through them.
To entertain any little squirmers in your household, let them spend an hour with The Snow Queen, the exquisitely performed production by Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts at the Dallas Children's Theater. This Hans Christian Andersen tale is one of his scariest: Pierced through the heart by a shard of ice, a boy named Kai runs away from his family and joins the hateful Snow Queen in her frozen palace. Only the love of his sister Gerda (voiced nicely by Arianna Movassagh), who searches the world to find him, warms his heart enough to destroy the Snow Queen's powers.
The adaptation by DCT's B. Wolf, who also wrote original music for the show, moves gently from scene to scene, aided by inventive video projections by Randel Wright. Puppet designers Burks, Beck Schlabach and Sally Fiorello have created a fur-and-feather menagerie to surround the expressive child-puppets, including a polar bear, a talking crow and a snarly dog. The turban-wearing title character has a glamorously scary face—a little Joan Collins, or maybe vintage Phyllis Diller.
How masterful is the puppeteering in The Snow Queen? When Gerda and Kai are at last reunited, it's so emotional you'll swear there are tears on their little faces.
They may be puppet-thespians, but these players are never guilty of wooden acting.