My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice (Stage 3, Walterdale Theatre)
by Todd Babiak
Of all the stories to bring to life on a small stage consider this one: it is 1897 and Salomon Andrée is off to the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon with two companions, Nils and Knut. It does not go well.
In the hands of London’s Dead Rabbits Theatre, massive balloons and blowing gales and polar bears are creative opportunities. As they demonstrated with The Dragon, a hit at last year’s Fringe, they are masters of stagecraft. With white sheets, a few ladders, small appliances, and dollies anything is possible.
Our way into the story of the lost explorers is through the shattered woman they left behind, sister to Salomon and in love with Nils. She is not a passive figure, waiting calmly for her men to come home, as much as everyone would like her to be.
As delightful as it is to see and to hear, the most astonishing aspect of My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice is the performers’ balance between comedy and tragedy. The four performers, Samuel Buitekant, Woody Franklyn, Milly Ramone, and Maxwell Sly, slip expertly from silly to sincere.
This is a deeply theatrical piece of theatre, ambitious and strange and wonderful.