Once Upon a Snowstorm

Dec 10 2022 | By More

★★★★☆    Gently Engaging

Traverse: Fri 9 – Fri 24 Dec 2022
Review by Allan Wilson

Once Upon a Snowstorm at the Traverse is a gentle, snowy tale based on Richard Johnson’s picture book, adapted and directed by Jo Timmins, that totally engages its target audience of children aged five to eight and their parents.

Michael Sherin and Fay Guiffo work beautifully together as a father and son who live in an isolated cottage in the woods and become separated in a snowstorm when they go hunting.

Michael Sherin and Fay Guiffo in Once Upon a Snowstorm

The play follows the adventures of the boy as he tries to find his father, encountering various animals along the way.

The animals are initially represented as distant projections onto the walls of the set, then by Sherin, sometimes joined by Guiffo, as individual creatures coming closer to the boy, establishing friendship and eventually rescuing him. They take the boy back to his father and a new relationship develops between hunter and hunted.

There is much to enjoy in this production as the actors make full use of the set. They meander through the audience, sometimes hinting at the peril facing the boy, but never trying to scare the young audience. Guiffo skilfully uses her violin to establish a change of mood with a single note, or a short phrase to supplement David Paul Jones’ music.

Michael Sherin and Fay Guiffo in Once Upon a Snowstorm

The simple, white set, designed by Sophie Ferguson and lit by Emma Jones, focuses initially on a small model cottage, which then comes apart to house a projector that displays moving silhouettes of animals, snow, stars and the moon.

And, of course, there is snow which falls gently from above to the delight of adults and children, who continue to play with it for a little while after the end of the show.

The Traverse has a long history of avoiding traditional Christmas stories at this time of year, in favour of ones with a winter theme, often aimed at children. Once Upon a Snowstorm, produced by Lyra with support from Catherine Wheels, is a worthy addition to the Traverse December tradition.

Running Time: 45 minutes (no interval).
Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Friday 9 – Friday 24 December 2022
Two shows daily, Wed – Sun.
Generally: 2pm and 4pm (weekends), 6pm (weekdays).
But some variations. Check for details.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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