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The Snowman - Theatre Review

If you are looking for something to do with the kids this Christmas, The Snowman at The Peacock Theatre, London is sure to leave you feeling like you are walking in the air.  

 

I have always been a big advocate for taking children to experience theatre. There have been countless research studies which show that regularly attending theatre from an early age can improve a person's emotional intelligence, social interactions and have greater empathy towards groups represented in plays. Theatre shows such a Horrible Histories are brilliantly educational, performances based on curriculum books such as The Tiger Who Came To Tea improve literacy comprehension and then there are theatre shows like The Snow Man which will leave children and parents in awe and a huge love and respect for performing arts. 

 

Now hold my hand. Close your eyes. Take a breath. I am going to take you on a magical review you will not forget. The Snowman has become something of a Christmas tradition, be that watching the live show directed by Bill Alexander, watching the beloved film by Dianne Jackson, reading the widely adored book that started it all by Raymond Briggs or listening to Aled Jones singing the iconic song ‘Walking in the Air.’ It simply does not feel like Christmas until I have been exposed to the legendary green hat and scarf combo.  



The performance begins with The Boy building the beloved Snowman before heading to bed. In the night, The Boy wakes and has the most wonderful adventure with his new friend. Whilst most will garnish from the original film and the promotional material that the show is entered dance and movement based, I thought it best to explain that, whilst there is a live band, there is no singing or talking throughout. The characters tell the story perfectly through the most wonderful costumes and physicality, of which the costume designers must be highly credited for the wonderful, yet occasionally creepy, costumes.  

 

The Christmas Eve adventures with the snowman move from room to room within the family home; dressing up in mum and dad's closet; dancing with the fruit in the kitchen; or dancing with the cat in the living room. The first of my minor nit-picks will be with the team who dressed the Christmas Tree in the living room scene as it was frankly poor and the least incredible thing about the performance - for many who choose to spurn pantomime, this is the festive trip to the theatre, we want to feel Christmasy, and some tinsel haphazardly sprawled on the branches really doesn’t cut the mustard.  

 

From leaving the house The Boy and The Snowman begin their flight to the North Pole, or for us adults, flying towards the interval and inevitable begging for chocolate ice-cream. This is a wonderful moment of the performance, although actors, or DeLorians, being suspended on a rope is now commonplace on a West End stage, the look of amazement on a child’s face is always priceless. This is also the moment that most people have been waiting for, ‘Walking in the air,’ played as an ear-splitting volume to really hammer home “This is the bit you paid for.”  

 

After the interval we meet a range of Snowmen at the North Pole. A Turkish snowman, a cowboy snowman, a butler, a chef, like a frozen version of the Village People. We also have the chance to meet two comic penguins, some reindeer, and the top man, Santa Clause himself. Although the child behind me said aloud exactly what I was thinking “He’s too thin to play Santa” … Oh well, out of the mouths of babes and all that. Some adults were a little confused by the introduction of the characters the Snow Princess and Jack Frost, as “they’re not in the film,” they are however characters from the original book, and the two dancers who embodied the roles were extremely high-quality dancers. My second niggle of the show would be the leggings worn by Jack Frost left little to the imagination - his frost bite was quite visible.  

 

My final issue with the performance was the constant use of a blackout or curtain close to change the set. Whilst a blackout or curtain has a purpose in the theatre, I do not think they were used effectively, it gave the show an air of ‘GCSE Drama.’ I was half expecting someone to drag a grey plastic chair along the floor. Annoying though as it may be, it does not distract from the dazzling performance of a well love classic, securing its 26th consecutive year of performance.  

 

Tickets are on sale until Saturday the 30th of December 2023 at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, London. Priced from £18 a ticket. The show runs for 1 hour 50 minutes including a 20-minute interval. 

 

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