It’s great credit to the Adelaide Youth Theatre that they extend the experience of their young members both on and off-stage. This enjoyable production featured dual casts in the lead roles: the Summer cast and the Winter cast. They were well led by young director Taylor Tran who inspired both sets of principals and the large ensemble to perform with confidence and skill. She was ably supported by the crisp choreography of Alessia Charman. All songs were enhanced by the enthusiastic and well coordinated dancing of both specialist dancers and at times the whole cast. She used the very large Influencers Theatre stage wisely and well.
Serena Cann is by now widely experienced as a musical director both with AYT and other Adelaide theatre companies, and along with Louis Cann, had these voices well tuned and balanced. Notable here was the clear articulation of both soloists and choruses alike.
The staging was well managed. These days it’s a wise, perhaps lucky, company which avails itself of available electronic technology. The AYT production team skilfully used the electronic wizardry at their disposal to project well focussed and illustrative images – a number of them moving – on the five large screens upstage. Apart from the pleasing visual effects, it made scene changes very efficient. Images changed instantaneously and, along with the unfussed movement of large and small props and furnishings on trucks, the transitions were seamless.
I was fortunate enough to see both casts in action. They were equally talented and effective in conveying the sense and mood of the story.
In the Winter cast Chloe Seabrook was poised and elegant as Elsa. Her mellow voice and clear articulation added depth. Kiara Linke as Anna was her equal and brought a clear contrast in character and demeaner. She was warm and lively, and showed good dramatic and comic timing.
Reese Holt as Young Elsa and Abbie McDonald as Young Anna were well cast and charming in their interaction. That was especially so in their duet A Little Bit Of You.
Nicholas Latella was an honest and decent Kristoff who worked well with Otis Mullan as the amusing Sven the reindeer, while Zahli Linke charmed the willing audience as Olaf, the snowman. Also of note was the cameo role of Wesselton played by Aiden Salmon, whose few lines were well timed and drew lots of laughs.
The Summer cast was well led by Montana Vincent who played Elsa with charm and admirable restraint. She worked very well with Bridget Tran as her sister, Anna. Bridget was convincing from the outset and was especially effective in the more dramatic moments later in the action.
Milla Ilic and Analise Terminello delighted the enthusiastic audience as the Young Elsa and Young Anna. These are seemingly minor roles but are significant in establishing both the character and plot. The same is true of all roles of course. The time-worn theatrical claim “There are no small parts” was well illustrated here. Speaking of which, the Summer cast’s Nemanja Ilic used his small frame and contrast in size with the other characters to fine effect. Once again, this cast was well served by Sam Cannizzaro who was wonderful as the dashing, humble hero, Kristoff, supported by Tessa Bleeze as a quirky and charming Sven. She wore the reindeer puppetry comfortably and naturally, as did Holly Abbott who was vital and entertaining as Olaf the snowman, comfortably wearing that puppet in front of her.
In all, this production of Disney’s Frozen was crisp, confident and well-rehearsed, and was robustly appreciated by the young audiences. There is no doubt that we are well served by the Adelaide Youth Theatre and its leaders’ vision and pursuit of excellence. Their productions are of an even, high standard and always attract large, attentive audiences, as they deserve to.