The Snowman is back after 16 seasons for one more Christmas at the Peacock Theatre. This endearing story, based on the children’s book written by Raymond Briggs, tells us about a little boy named James and his friendship with a snowman that he himself built and on one wintery day came to life.
If there is anything magical about this show, it is the work done on the set and costumes: it definitely takes the audience to a different place where anything can happen. The music, composed by Howard Blake is also a delight; with no speaking throughout the show it is the voice that tells this story and it does so beautifully, enhancing the magic and the adventures in this tale.
However, The Snowman might just need a renovation. I have been to quite a few children’s shows and felt that The Snowman, however charming it might have been once, is now being done in an old-fashioned way, not that creative in the making compared to the children’s shows that have been happening in the past few years. Above all there was a lack of consistency in quality throughout the performance. Choreography wise this performance had some great moments like the trio between the Ice Princess, the Snowman and Jack Frost, but in other moments it was awkward and sloppy and made little sense or had little impact. Some of it felt as if it was just dancing for the sake of dancing, forgetting the story telling.
Truly, there are some great and sharp physical performances by some of the dancers in costumes – it can’t be easy to dance with costumes like that – namely the Snowman, Father Christmas and the international Snowmen. However I did find that at times it was hard to believe in some of the characters. When that happens in a show such as this one, where you need to be completely immersed, your concentration bubble pops and soon it all becomes a bit ridiculous. It all comes down to the acting, and some performers were either over the top and trying to be funny or they became quite artificial in their reactions. Maybe a child who is watching can’t really tell the difference but it does make a difference if you want to fully create this magical world and enchant us all into it.
This show will make you smile, no doubt, and has the power to engage you. The children easily fall in love with this story and it’s not by random that it is still a success. But the performers and the direction need to keep up, re-invent and re-polish their characters and scenes every year that they are asked back into the Peacock theatre. That to me seems to be the way to go if we want to keep offering children the wonder of the Snowman. 3.5/5
Review written by Sofia Moura.
The Snowman is currently showing at the Peacock Theatre (Sadler’s Wells) until Sunday 4th January. For more information on the production, visit here…