By Howard Blake
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company
The Lowry, 23 November 2011
This magical show is scrumptious Christmas fare for children of all ages.
A boy makes a snowman and – come night-time – he dreams that it (or he) comes to life and they go on adventures. We go with them, as well.
It began life as an animation and later became a short ballet, and there are echoes of The Sleeping Beauty (in the woodland creatures’ dance, which is like the fairy-tale characters’ dance in Act III of The Sleeping Beauty) and Coppelia (in the ballerina who steps from the music box and comes to life), but there’s much else here too.
There are lots of snowmen for starters: a cowboy, a Chinaman, a Scotsman – who is not averse to head-butting his dancing partner- and a snowman in a top hat. Also, the costumes and the light show are spectacular and on more than one occasion both boy and snowman take to the air. Best of all, perhaps, is the choreography: beautifully structured, well thought-out and it moved the story along an’ all.
An absence of speech may present challenges to parents of very inquisitive children. ‘What is happening? It makes no sense… Is that real snow?’ was one lad behind me. And to be fair, it did defy the known laws of physics, as we understand them: how can snowmen fly? Why don’t they melt? All in all, a fun show.
The Snowman is at The Lowry until 26 November, then it goes elsewhere. Full tour dates are here.