Joint Winner of the Oxfordshire Drama Network Pantomime Competition 2015.
Carlo is a market trader, who really believes that the customer is always right; he is unfailingly cheerful and nothing, but nothing, is too much trouble. His only problems are his rather dotty mum Nelly and the fact that he cannot pluck up the courage to tell his best friend Gloria how much he cares for her.
His patter is overheard by the Snow Queen, her two dim-witted henchmen, Jack and Jill Frost and her Ice Elves. She is bitter, as she believes that she should be the Sun Queen, rather than her sister. Her vision of a perfect world is a land of perpetual winter, where both summer and happiness are distant memories; she resolves to start spreading her chilling message using her magic mirror fragments, starting with Carlo, as he represents everything she hates.
Jack and Jill, aided by the Ice Elves, trick Carlo into getting some of the mirror fragments into his eyes. His personality changes so that he insults Nelly, who then leaves him to stew, only for him to be lured away to her icy kingdom by the Snow Queen on the promise of power and riches. Gloria, discovering his disappearance, resolves to find him with the help of Eleanor, one of the townspeople.
Meanwhile, Carlo has arrived in the Snow Queen’s kingdom; instead of receiving the expected power and riches, Carlo is told he must now earn them by using more of the mirror fragments to spread the Snow Queen’s message. His first targets are Pinocchio and his father Gepetto, resulting in Pinocchio turning into an instant ‘Kevin’ and Gepetto threatening to turn him into firewood. Carlo realises that he is enjoying himself and that he has a talent for causing mayhem.
Gloria and Eleanor’s search has so far proved fruitless; as a last resort Eleanor reveals herself to be the Sun Queen and uses her powers to obtain help from some very unlikely sources. The reason for the change in Carlo and his disappearance is revealed, also how he can be rescued from the Snow Queen’s clutches. Gloria sets out to find him and Eleanor/the Sun Queen promises to follow with what help she can find.
Gloria arrives in the Snow Queen’s kingdom, but is immediately seized by a band of robbers; however, she persuades them to help her with her plan to defeat the Snow Queen as this will free them from their hand-to-mouth existence. The Ice Elves overhear this conversation and set off to warn the Snow Queen.
Carlo is now hard at work, managing to cause Prince Charming to walk out on Cinderella and Peter Pan and Wendy to take over the Jolly Roger and become the cruellest and most bloodthirsty pirates there have ever been.
Finally, of course, Gloria, Eleanor, Nelly, the robbers and townspeople confront the Snow Queen; despite being forewarned she and Carlo are tricked by the quick thinking Gloria and Carlo is turned back to his old self, while the Snow Queen is left to make the best of her cold and isolation. Warmth and sunshine return to the world.
There are seven principles, numerous speaking and non-speaking cameo parts (many of which are suitable for children), plus a chorus of townspeople, robbers and roses.
Ten scenes, with three main settings – other scenes being in front of half tabs or on a lower stage; therefore simple to stage, but with plenty of opportunity for imaginative scenery and effects.
While this version of the Snow Queen contains elements of pantomime, it is not intended to be an out-and-out traditional pantomime, more a story with music suitable for the pantomime season; hence, there is no obvious slapstick for instance. However, there should be a great deal of scope when it comes to characterisation, scenery and sound and lighting effects. There are also more cameo parts than would be usual in a typical pantomime.
Accordingly, I have deliberately subtitled it as ‘A winter’s tale’ and therefore it should be advertised as such, in order to manage audience expectations.