Last night I attended the Press Night for the opening of The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Production of The Snowman at The Marlowe Theatre.
For those that don’t know much about The Snowman or for those that have never heard of it, here’s a little synopsis for you of the original book by Raymond Briggs.
The Boy builds a snowman on a winter’s day. That night, at the stroke of midnight, The Snowman comes to life. They go around playing with appliances, toys and other things throughout the house, all while keeping quiet enough not to wake the boy’s Mum and Dad.
They then go for a ride on a motorbike where they see many animals. The engine heat affects the insides of the Snowman’s thighs, and so they find him a freezer to cool off in. Later they take flight, over the ocean.
They continue through an arctic landscape and land in a snow-covered forest where they join a party of snowmen.
They meet Santa with his reindeer, who gives The Boy a scarf with a snowman pattern.
The morning after they get back, the sun has come out and The Boy wakes up to find The Snowman has melted. The Boy reaches into his pocket and finds The Snowman scarf given to him by Santa.
As a child, I watched this every Christmas-it was a tradition in our house. Little did I know I’d be reviewing the stage production of it 20 years later.
From the second I entered the auditorium, the festive backdrop on the stage already
evoked those Christmas memories, and, with the constant winter snow scenes, the Christmas tree in the house, and familiar music, I left full of the festivity I had only a month ago.
The first half of the show, got off to a slightly slow start, but it can’t have been slow for long, because I don’t remember the point I was suddenly sucked into the festive excitement along with the rest of the audience.
The beautiful carol singers, The Boy building the Snowman (that for a little while had me questioning if it was going to move or not because it had stayed so still for so long)! The scenery, that seemed to change the entire feel of the stage, with just one simple backdrop screen behind the constant wintry trees, and the props that were changed with ease and speed created perfect festive settings for each scene.
The absolutely awesome boys who play The Boy, had me in awe-the stamina and talent these children have is admirable.
The Snowman himself, was hilarious. The fact someone can portray humour and emotion while not speaking is incredible, and the ability he had to keep up with all of the dances and dancers around him, dressed in what I can only assume was a ridiculously hot Snowman suit, just shows how talented he is
This does lead me nicely on to the music. Although compliments go to all dancers and actors, the real emotion is evoked from the power of the music.
I was thrilled to hear prior to this event, that the Howard Blake, who, 34 years ago wrote the original music and lyrics for the to feature film of The Snowman, did the same for this stage production.
Even more thrilling was the opportunity to meet and speak to Howard in person during the interval. A thoroughly humble and gentle man, he seemed genuinely happy to discuss the show, mentioning that they’ve now done so many shows in this tour so far, Hannah Flynn, who plays Scotty Snowman, has danced as Scotty for 1000 shows!
Obviously, the most famous of all of the music in this show is “Walking In The Air“. There’s just something about that song that gives me goosebumps, and, with the Snowman and The Boy wired up enabling them to fly across the stage, it’s clearly one of the most iconic moments in this production.
Additionally to this part though, there are so many other moments that left me open mouthed.
The various animals, with their beautiful costumes, dancing in perfect synchronisation, the beautiful ballets performed by the Ballerina, the Ice Princess and Jack Frost (who did a beautiful job of being scary-the majority of the children in front of me jumped when he came on). The timing The Boy had when dancing with his peers, the “dance off” with all the different snowmen, and, let’s face it, the moment Santa came on and brought us so much joy while we watched him dance in front of us.
That same rush of joy we felt, turned to utter heartbreak when we saw The Boy discover his Snowman had melted, and, shortly after, as the last scene concluded, the sheer elation, from, lets face it, more adults than children, at the magical snow that fell around us-making it the perfect way to end this beautiful show.
I’ve come away from this production, holding dear those festive feelings, that evoked so many of my childhood memories, in the hope they will see me through until next Christmas.
If you get the opportunity to go and see this-do! It’s perfect for children and adults of all ages! The Snowman is on NOW until the 22nd of January at The Marlowe Theatre.