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ONCE UPON A SNOWFLAKE – Artsdepot, London.

Paper Balloons Production Stills-3-2Have you ever met a Spriteologist? Or even a Winter Sprite? Well you are in for a treat this winter with Once Upon A Snowflake. Join the Spriteologists Alexi (Alex Kanefsky) and Daria (Dorie Kinnear) as they embark on a mission to rescue Liza from the dangers of the Winter Sprites.

Paper Balloon, with writer Erin Dewar, have created an enchanting piece of theatre that really engages with the audience, from teaching the Spriteologist salute through to creating fantastical creatures from randomly selected pieces of clothing. Told through a combination of storytelling, original music (written and performed by Darren Clark) and shadow puppetry, Once Upon A Snowflake is a detective mystery for all the family. Kanefsky and Kinnear as Spriteologists Alexi and Daria are full of quirky characteristics and have a playful exuberance that entices the audience into their quest to find Liza.

Clark’s score and original songs create a wonderful atmosphere throughout Once Upon A Snowflake. The score underpins the narrative action and provides the perfect accompaniment to all of the shadow-puppet sequences. The use of lighting too evokes the magic of the adventure Liza and the Spriteologists embark upon, with a mixture of darkness, torches, shadows and bright, snowy landscapes. The set, designed by Nomi Everall, cleverly hides a multitude of fun and exciting props that are used throughout the show, as well as incorporating the screen used in the puppetry vignettes. However, it is the vibrant costumes that make the visual aspect of this production so appealing; each character has a jauntily angled hat and deep-pocketed outfits that again hide a variety of props.

The cast effectively multi-role throughout, and Karl Sullivan’s movement direction enables them to use the whole stage space to conjure different landscapes, and helps them create clear distinctions between the characters, both vocally and physically. Maria Litvinova’s direction gives the piece a steady, well paced flow, with creative flare that unveils clues to the audience in a timely fashion, actively encouraging them to help solve the mystery of the locked suitcase.

Once Upon A Snowflake is peppered with really magical moments, created by excellent shadow-puppetry, enchanting songs and fantastic audience interaction that make this show an enjoyable experience for everyone. If you are looking for an adventure this winter, sign up to become the newest Spriteologist recruit and join in the fun hunting for those magical elf-like Winter Sprites!

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Reviewed 22/11/15

By Emily Jones

7th – 29th November 2015
Artsdepot, London, N12 0GA.

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