It's only been ten years since Frozen was first released as a film and just two since the musical came to the West End. With the number of times I've heard Let It Go be sung and seen children scurrying around London wearing Elsa costumes I thought it had been much longer.
I headed down to the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane to finally see the Disney film brought to life on stage. In a very sweet touch, as you make your way in, artificial snow begins to fall on you which really adds to the magical setting.
I do think when most of us think of Frozen we think of it as Princess Elsa's story when, in reality, it's much more about her energetic younger sister Princess Anna. The actress who played the young royal pranced across the stage as if she owned it, which I felt really brought the boisterous princess to life. Phoebe Penfold captured Elsa's nervous and protective nature really well and seeing the siblings interact on stage was sweet.
The plot to the musical follows the film which, naturally, meant that there weren't many surprises coming up - but I did catch myself holding my breath when the King and Queen went to sea. It even has some moments that feel identical to the film, such as when Anna wakes up with her hair all over the place on her sister's coronation day.
While it's undeniably a show made with a younger audience in mind there are slightly more adult moments such as when Princess Anna is admiring the physique of Prince Hans with somewhat of a wandering hand or when a kiss ends up with a face planted firmly in her bust. I do think these moments are thrown in for the adult audience. There was also a little more skin than I expected with Anna stripping down to get changed on stage twice.
Not only that, but the Hygge portion of the show had the entire audience giggling as the ensemble poured out of a sauna wearing little more than a few leaves and branches. The attention to the original plot and iconic lines is present throughout, although the musical definitely leaves its mark with songs and lines you won't see in the motion picture.
It's surprising that Frozen is Laura Dawkes's West End debut, with the 21-year-old actress having graduated from Emil Dale Academy earlier this year. She perfectly captures the energy of the cheeky princess and keeps the audience hooked with her attention to detail in each facial expression. With Princess Anna being her breakout role Laura Dawkes is definitely one to watch on the West End theatre scene.
Sven is one of the more alarming characters to see on stage and definitely stole the show every time he trotted out across the stage. Olaf is one of my favourite characters on the show, Craig Gallivan's mastery of the puppet makes it easy to forget he's moving him at all. In Summer is a really nice number that shows you the inside world of the cheerful snowman who dreams of sunbathing.
Queen Elsa felt like an older sister who was convinced she knew best and I think Jenna Lee-James does a great job of appealing to the youngsters in the audience. Her performance of Let It Go had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that had almost every audience member applauding - there was an undeniable sense of magic in the air.
Frozen, in essence, is a story of love between two sisters, and seeing it brought alive on stage is quite heart-warming; especially as we watch Anna struggle to figure out what true love really is. It's a lovely show and while it's definitely one for children and families I do think adults can enjoy it too.
Frozen The Musical tickets are out right now. Get tickets here: