Friday, 7 December 2012

The Snowman - review

Written by: Sophie Foulds (@SophieFoulds)

Peacock Theatre, London

Christmas is here! The Snowman is back, along with all his snow friends including ballerinas, toy soldiers, and even dancing vegetables. Really. Now enjoying its 15th consecutive year, it still has the ability to fill the auditorium of the Peacock Theatre, both with seasoned theatregoers, and excited children waving their glowing snowmen toys along to Howard Blakeʼs unforgettable score. Scenario co-creators Howard Blake, Robert North, and Bill Alexander take Raymond Briggs classic children’s story and give it life, colour, and above all, a little bit of magic.

Photo: Bill Cooper
The Snowman is the tale of a young boy, played enthusiastically by Joseph Darcey-Alden, who builds a snowman on a very ordinary winter’s day. However, that night at the stroke of midnight his snowman comes to life. The boy introduces the snowman to his home and all that is to be discovered inside and in turn the snowman takes the boy on a journey through the wintery skies to a gathering that he will never forget.

Choreographers Rosella Capriolo, Anita Griffin and Julian Moss help to move the story along and cater to their youthful demographic by creating simple but effective dance sequences and over-exaggerated pedestrianised movements, emphasising each turn of the head, each expression on the magic snowmanʼs face. The snowman is such a presence on the stage that he’s almost a distraction, which in a show where ballerinas magically appear from music boxes and fly wires magically attach themselves to the snowman and the boy, it actually works extremely well.

The production, although well designed, could have been developed further. Considering the varying lengths of attention the audience will give to their performers; prolonged scene changes, simple backdrops, and limited props sometimes made the stage seem bleak. The enchantment of The Snowman’s continuous discoveries should keep the expectant energy alive in the auditorium and not falter. Also, for a production that relies so heavily on its musical accompaniment it was a real shame not to have a full orchestra to really bring the music to life; a few violinists could have really made the music soar through the auditorium, filling some of the gaps left by the direction.

Photo: Bill Cooper
Although this show is first and foremost for children, for all you Christmas lovers it’s well worth a family visit. If you’re quick, book your tickets fast, and manage to secure a seat in the stalls; you’ll get to enjoy the very makings of the snowman himself. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

This production runs until 6th January 2013

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