Director: Bill Alexander
Music: Howard Blake
Design: Ruari Murchison
Reviewer: Rosie Revell
It’s hard to believe that Christmas classic film The Snowman is 32 years old. Based upon Raymond Briggs’ beautiful picture book, it’s been capturing hearts and minds every Christmas since its Channel 4 premiere in 1982. Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s spellbinding live dance version of the story flies into The Lyceum Theatre this week, just in time to start the festive season in style. Now entering its 21st year the live action show has lost none of its sparkling charm, wit and joy and is fast becoming a Christmas tradition in its own right.
The Snowman tells the magical story of a young boy’s Christmas Eve adventure when his snowman comes to life, meeting a host of magical characters; dancing woodland creatures, penguins, Jack Frost, a princess, a host of international snowmen and of course, Father Christmas himself. The story is simple but told beautifully and while it may be very familiar, there is something new and fresh to be found within this show that will enchant its young audience anew.
The first act’s charm lies in the Snowman’s exploration of the boy’s home. The old favourites are there such as the cat, dressing up in the boy’s parent’s clothes and playing with fruit. Extending Briggs’ original story, the show adds new scenes including dancing fruit; however this isn’t necessarily in keeping with the story and ever so slightly jars. The overall pace of the show is good and it recovers quickly from this minor blip. Ruari Murchison’s set is simple but very effective; reminiscent of the film with an amazing level of detail; from the boy’s house down to the coal that forms the snowman’s buttons. Howard Blake’s score is as evocative as ever and the much anticipated ‘Walking in the Air’ still has the power to bring goosebumps at its beauty as it closes the first act.
The second act moves the action to the snowmen’s party and meeting Father Christmas. Tightly choreographed the dancing is great fun and the whole cast really should be commended as they retain a sense of wonder and joy to the very end. The main rôles of boy and snowman will rotate throughout the run and there is much to admire and enjoy with lots of energy and fun in this beautiful production of The Snowman.
Runs until: 23rd November 2014