Review: FROZEN THE MUSICAL at Crown Theatre

Magic and love bring this story to the stage

By: Aug. 31, 2022
Review: FROZEN THE MUSICAL at Crown Theatre

Review: FROZEN THE MUSICAL at Crown Theatre The movie Frozen is well known, a heart-warming theme of love and family triumphing, with a bit of humour and magic throughout. Disney's production of FROZEN THE MUSICAL didn't go light on any of this in bringing the much-loved animation to the stage, with a funny, touching, and magical show that will delight the young, the young at heart, and anyone else lucky enough to witness it.

Disney Theatrical Productions believe that magic can be transferred from screen to stage, and this is evident from before the overture begins. The staging is simply stunning, and the set quickly evolves from scene to scene in ways that simply need to be seen to be believed. Designed by multiple Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award winner Christopher Oram, the stage begins as amazing and never lets up. The staging works in concert with wonderful lighting design by Theatre Hall-of-Famer Natasha Katz. The show has magic in it, sure, but there is magic too in this show's stage. There were gasps from the audience throughout the show as more secrets were revealed by the masterpiece setting. The costumes, too, are something to behold. There are times characters go off-stage and one can scarcely believe they got changed so quickly. Indeed, there are times characters change on-stage and one can hardly believe it. The costumes are detailed and eye-catching enough to be a part of the show themselves, yet at no point do the costumes seem out of place.

In the two lead roles are outstanding actresses and giants of Australian stage. As Anna is Courtney Monsma, and despite a handful of main roles to date, we can expect many big things from her future. The inner turmoil Anna experiences as well as misplaced love and the recognisable energy for life that we know of the character are brought to life for all to see in Monsma's portrayal. Her range of emotions are simple enough for any children to follow, but nuanced enough that any adults can see and empathise with her struggles. As her sister Elsa is Jemma Rix, one of the most well-known leading ladies of Australian stage. Idina Menzel originated the role for the movie and originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked, so another actress taking on both roles is no surprise. However, Rix doesn't just fill the role, she brings her depth of talent and showmanship to it. She commands the stage as she needs to but also illustrates her troubled character as she needs to as well, and there are times when she is cheeky and funny, much to the delight of everyone in the audience.

Matt Lee has played a variety of characters in a variety of ways previously, and he excels as Olaf. Lee has the sort of energy to bring focus to himself but the skill to ensure the focus is on the puppet he controls when it needs to be. The puppetry is a delight to see, as well as some of the magic that Olaf creates, and Lee's performance really adds to it. Read more about the preparation needed to add 'puppeteer' to a list of credits in my interview with Matt Lee. Thomas McGuane plays the troublesome yet charming Hans in a performance that really enhances the show. Being familiar with the movie means you'd be familiar with Hans' arc, yet McGuane really emphasises the dramatic irony, at times appearing to almost conspire with the children in the audience. The quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) murmurings when Hans was on stage showed just how well Thomas McGuane managed to captivate the crowd. As Kristoff is Sean Sinclair, effortlessly winning over Anna (and the entire audience) with charm and vocal strength. Whilst there is much of this show that really needs to be seen to be believed, the work behind bringing the reindeer Sven to life (performed by Jonathan MacMillan alternating with Lochie McIntyre) is something to behold. The role-share is necessitated by the strain the costume puts on the performer, but the way a reindeer is transformed to interact with the other characters is truly something. To add to the appeal for younger audience members, the roles of young Anna and Elsa are played by an alternating set of outrageously talented youngsters, all of whom-we can hope- have bright futures ahead of them, given how well they play their parts.

Review: FROZEN THE MUSICAL at Crown Theatre

Whilst the story of Frozen may be well known, it has been altered for the stage format, and none of the performers can be accused of trying to be a copy of what is already known. The familiar is enhanced and added to by unique performances and staging, and there are new songs, scenes, and sub-plots to keep us entertained and interested. In fact, the show is deliberately crafted to differ from the movie so well that a part of the show was taken and expanded on for the theatrical sequel. FROZEN THE MUSICAL proves beyond doubt that no matter how well you know the story, you haven't seen anything quite like this.

FROZEN THE MUSICAL is a theatrical treat for the whole family, leaning on some known parts of the movie but adding plenty to it, with stunning staging and breathtaking performances. See it if you love Frozen, or if you love theatre, or simply if you want to be amazed. This show will certainly amaze you.

FROZEN THE MUSICAL is at Crown Theatre until October 30. Tickets and more information at Frozen The Musical Australia.

Photos thanks to Lisa Tomasetti. Video courtesy of Disney Broadway Productions.