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The Frozen Scream at Birmingham Hippodrome - Theatre Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Sarah Waters' first stage play is an innovative thriller
It's difficult to describe exactly what an experience new thriller The Frozen Scream is because the secrecy that surrounds it is on a par with a play like Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.

There are sequences and events that must be shrouded in mystery if this exciting new production co-written by acclaimed author Sarah Waters and BBC Radio 4 writer Christopher Green is to continue working for audiences to come.

The Frozen Scream1
The Frozen Scream is more comedy than horror


That said, what I can disclose is that the unique and memorable Frozen Scream combines 1930s who-dunnit with improv comedy, and for a chilling thriller, it will make you laugh more than scream.

Based on a largely forgotten 1928 murder-mystery novel by CC Gilbert (that is supposedly cursed), Sarah Waters has stamped her mark all over this production - her first stage play after the success of novels including Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith.

There's a small cast of eccentric characters based around a love triangle featuring Jinty, her ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend and by strange tongue-in-cheek coincidence, our motley crew end up stranded in deep snow in an abandoned lodge at the same time as things start to go bump in the night. That's when scary tales about Jack Frost send more than just a chill into the room.

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Christopher Green has co-written the play with acclaimed author Sarah Waters


There are unexpected twists and turns that become so engrossing you forget that leading lady Rula Lenska is yet to arrive, and she does in a unique way.

Where The Frozen Scream breaks new ground is by taking the audience on a journey of discovery through the story to find out exactly why they should "beware the ice" in an almost pantomime fashion.

Co-writer and comedy actor Christopher Green shines bright in the show with his affable style but it's quite clearly his baby and he relishes in shaking things up, all the time with a smile on his face.

The Frozen Scream3
The Frozen Scream is based on a 1920s murder mystery


It's an adventurous project in its early days that has already been slightly updated to make it more slick since its opening at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff last year. This updated version being performed at Birmingham Hippodrome from January 7 until January 17 shows a lot of promise and will particularly suit those who are also game for a laugh.

Due to the way it is performed in the smaller Patrick Centre stage at Birmingham Hippodrome, there are limited tickets for the show, which has an age guidance of aged 16 and over.

Rating: 7/10
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Why? An exciting innovative new theatre production
When: Until January 17
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: 15 - 18.50
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