Forget the Queen’s Speech, the traditional Christmas TV in our house has always been The Snowman. We all love it, and in fact it’s not just reserved for the 25th December, we watch it most of the year as the kids can’t get enough of Ramon Brigg’s charming story, the beautiful animation and the breath-taking music. Even on its 1,657th viewing, we still hold our breath when the Snowman and the boy take-off.
Not long ago we discovered the stage production of the show was just a short train ride away in London, and playing over Christmas, so we jumped (or should I say flew with the aid of a snowman) at the opportunity to see it.
Three days before Christmas, Edie, Arlo, my wife and I set off for the Peacock Theatre in Holborn for the ultimate pre-Christmas treat. Journeying into the capital the excitement was building and upon approaching the theatre, a real festive buzz hung in the cold winter air. Taking our seats, it wasn’t long before the show began and from that moment, we were all enchanted.
The set was impressive but not over the top, making it easy for even the smallest of audience members to distinguish what was inside the house and what was outside in the falling snow. The show followed the classic tale, with the boy building the famous snowman, but we saw the addition of cleverly placed passers-by and carol singers that allowed for discreet changes to our snowy hero, and thus enabled him to magically come to life.
With the Snowman well and truly alive, we followed his merry discovery around the house as he faced the startled cat, a fashion parade in the parents’ bedroom and a dance with some oversized fruit – it’s not often you see a seven-foot-tall pineapple do the limbo! The motorbike scene was a fun and well-choreographed piece, thrilling us all as its screeched around the stage, narrowly avoiding the fox, a badger and other startled woodland creatures.
Whilst all this build up was fantastic, the show really came alive just before the interval as the Snowman took hold of the boy’s hand, the beautiful We’re Walking in the Air began, and they took to the sky. The gasp that echoed around the audience defined what a magical moment it really was. The Snowman and the boy moved with such grace and beauty, leaving us all yearning for more in the second half.
With our bellies full of ice cream, the second half begun in the North Pole, with the addition of additional snowmen, a dancing ice princess, penguins, Jack Frost and the big guy himself, Father Christmas. The story went a little off-piste with a long dance-off between the Snowman and Jack Frost, fighting over the ice princess, and for the first time in the show, with these seemingly extended dances, I detected a little weariness from the children in the audience.
With a return to the traditional story line, the show ends with the (SPOILER ALERT!) Snowman melting, but where the TV version leaves viewers with a feeling of sadness, the production doesn’t dwell on that moment for too long, and thus doesn’t leave the children leaving the show upset. The immediate fresh snow and fun final dance quickly diminishes any hint of sadness and the show ended with huge applause and huge smiles.
I can’t recommend the show enough. Perhaps very young children might find it difficult to concentrate for such a long time, especially during the second half, but the dances are (in the voice of Craig Revel Horwood) fab-u-lous, and everyone who’s in the show is well cast and incredibly engaging. There are funny moments, sad moments and beautiful moments, and those beautiful moments left us walking in the air as we headed back home, well and truly enchanted by the wonderfully festive tale.
If you’d like to see the show, follow the link below. The show runs until the 5th January 2019.