The Snow Queen

Claire Dargo as the Snow Queen
Claire Dargo as the Snow Queen

You know the festive season has kicked off when a horse with a horn swishes its pink glitter tail and waltzes onto stage.

Hamish the Unicorn is undoubtedly the star of Scotland’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fabulous fairytale, The Snow Queen.

Played with zest by the marvellous Richard Conlon, Hamish is hilarious, camp and outrageous as he commands the Royal Lyceum stage in Edinburgh.

With a shout of “I’m a horse with a horn, I’m a unicorn”, Hamish’s antics are met with raucous laughter from the audience, with the adults more on cue with the nail bitingly close humour in this family Yuletide show.

It’s a fabulous way to kick off Christmas and a must-see show. Adapted by Glasgow playwright Morna Young and directed by the equally talented Cora Bissett, the show has Scotland stamped all over it.

Snow Queen costumes and set
Snow Queen costumes and set

From Claire Dargo as the evil Snow Queen, keeping up with national panto tradition and being posh, English and a bad girl, to Gerda, played with gusto by Rosie Graham and Kei (Sebastian Lim-Seet), the production see both orphans planning their escape from home to seek some adventure.

Regularly meeting in their secret garden and away from Gerda’s granny May (Wendy Seager) and Kei’s grandpa Lyle, Antony Strachan, their friendship centres on their love for a potted red rose.

Unbeknown to them, the Snow Queen is trying to create an eternal winter and uses her magic to freeze the seeds of Spring.

With one seed to capture, she bewitches Kei and kidnaps him, but intrepid Gerda is having none of it and sets off to rescue her friend.

Cast of The Snow Queen
Samuel Pashby as Corby, Richard Conlon as Hamish the Unicorn and Rosie Graham as Gerda

On the way she has some real and funny adventures, from meeting talking and singing flowers to enlisting the help of the Snow Queen’s sidekick Corbie the Corvid (the non-flappable Samuel Pashby) who turns friend from foe in the end and Senga the Highland bandit (Naomi Stirrat), who teaches Gerda some sword skills. Yana Harris and Kieran Andrew round off the brilliant cast.

It’s a fast-moving show with a winter fairytale set and costumes by Emily James and an array of upbeat original musical hits by Finn Anderson with lyrics from the play’s writer.

With plenty of laughs, fabulous twists in the plot and toe-tapping tunes, it’s definitely the show to see this Christmas.

The Snow Queen at The Royal Lyceum runs until 31st December 2023 and ticket information can be found at

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.

Photographs by Jess Shurte

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