This is my second time seeing The Snowman, on stage. Granted, a few years have passed and in a way, this was great in making me see it with new eyes.
If you do not know the story of The Snowman, it is the tale that is on the screens of us brits every Christmas. A little boy makes a Snowman that one night, comes to life. They encounter lots of exciting events from a Snowman party with Father Christmas, to wearing his Dad’s clothes to, what is the most commonly well known part of the story, flying.
This time around, I had help in the form of my 4 year old Nephew. Obsessed with Christmas, this was the third production I have ever taken him to. The first, he was just a baby, but the last one being in Summer, he is the ultimate theatre go-er. Not one of these loud children, he is just mesmerized by the production as a whole.
The whole thing was very magical – with an element of dance (this is The Peacock Theatre after all), it is fluid and gentle and graceful. Even the throwing of a snowball, or angry Mum at a broken window is full of gentle feeling. The Snowman we are used to is driven by what you can see and beautiful music underneath, picking up little moments and enhancing moments with a crash of a cymbal or a fast trill on a violin. Spoken language is not needed. And this production has kept this the same. It works. It is a dance production and dance is there to evoke the narrative and the emotions – therefore a marriage made in heaven.
I felt transported back to my own childhood and watching it for the first time, the same feeling I have every year I watch it on TV and seeing the awe in my nephew’s eyes, it was clear he was feeling this as well.
While for an adult approaching 30, an interval is a nice addition – time for that ice cream that feels right to have at Christmas, I did experience that perhaps this isn’t the best for a 4 year old. Most children’s productions do a straight hour and bam, home time. Their concentration has reached its peak and they want snacks. This production adds elements to the story – a bad guy, some characters we have never seen before, extra dance elements and while beautiful and lovely and still very magical, I think the elongation of the show was a bit too much for a 4 year old. Knowing Father Christmas features, he just wanted to get to that bit and see his hero, not to see the Snowman have a love interest.
The Snowman is everything and more. Magical, nostalgia inducing for us oldies, fascinating to the little ones. Perhaps just a little long for kids, while aimed at their age, perhaps a condense to the original story would be better.