We knew we were in for a festive treat with The Snowman and yet we were still blown away by this joyful dance, musical and theatrical extravaganza. The story follows a young boy on Christmas Eve whose snowman come to life in the middle of the night when the house is still and everyone else (other than the show’s little protagonist) are soundly sleeping.
It could it be a dream, a fantasy or just magic as we are whisked along with the snowman on an adventure throughout the world.
The enchantment started as soon as we entered the auditorium when the toddler observed the dramatic set designed by Ruari Murchinson with lights creating the impression of calmly falling snow. ‘Look mummy it’s snowing!” he announced as we searched for our seats.
And the magic continued to keep parents and children captivated for the duration of the show. For a nearly three year old the enjoyment comes from watching everyday play things come to life on stage, whether a choo choo train whizzing past, fruit emerging from the fridge and joining in a limbo dance competition or a playful cat having a boogie with the snowman (greatly helped by the fact that this toddler has a similar looking furry friend at home).
Whilst for the parents, the pleasure comes from hearing the moving iconic Howard Blake score brought to life by the live orchestra and accompanied with the beautifully dazzling and highly talented dancers.
There’s also the brilliantly bright colours in the set design, the intricately detailed costumes and the lack of dialogue which is perfect for very little people as they can use their imagination to propel themselves into the story. The morning after we watched the show, my toddler exclaimed that he was flying with the snowman, which is how the first half of the show ends and how the second half begins.
“I’m walking in the air’ perfectly describes how we felt in the interval and after we got snacks and drinks we couldn’t wait to get stuck into the second half of the story.
After the interval we met the spiky Jack Frost (my toddler’s description) as well as the Ice Princess and lots of snowmen from around the world. We particularly liked the Glaswegian kiss the snowman gives Jack Frost during their conflict – a nice touch for the adults which was met with approval and laughter in the audience.
My only hesitation with the show was at the start of the performance when we are confronted with an outdated version of family life. A leap back in time into a 50’s advertisement version of how families should look; very Stepford Wives and less Modern Family.
By the end of the performance, though, when my son was clapping excitedly and enjoying the foam snow coming down in the auditorium I had completely forgotten any hesitation or slight struggle to relate.
We were fully immersed in this wonderfully classic festive tale from beginning to end and enjoyed the experience tremendously. What a fun way to introduce young Londoners to theatre, music and dance.
The Snowman is on at Peacock Theatre until Sunday 5 January 2020 at 11am, 2.30pm & 7pm and tickets are from £18 to £55. More info and booking on www.sadlerswells.com