If you’re looking for a treat this weekend head to Manchester’s Opera house for an enchanting classic. We loved Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s magical show, putting its own twist on Raymond Briggs’ famous character with dancing penguins, reindeer and a leaping Jack Frost!
The Snowman is a national treasure; a Christmas classic; a festive favourite. The film of Raymond Briggs’ gentle, cool character was first shown on 26 December 1982, and was an immediate success. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and won a BAFTA TV Award. The story is told through pictures, action and music, scored by Howard Blake; there is a version with an intro by David Bowie; and of course it made Aled Jones famous for ‘Walking in the Air’ even though he was not the singer in the film.
The stage show of the Snowman, by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, is a mesmerising retelling of Brigg’s tale. While it does not keep strictly to the Briggs’ script (in fact neither did the film – in the original book the Snowman and James only get as far as Brighton!) – its departures make the show a real stage lovers treat.
We have seen the show before – in London maybe three years ago – and we were thrilled to see it was coming to Manchester’s Opera House. My son has always been The Snowman’s biggest fan so we were in no way fatigued!
The story starts as we all know when a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve and the two set off on a night-time adventure. In the stage show, they still meet Father Christmas, but add to that dancing penguins, reindeer and an encounter with the evil Jack Frost.
The kids love it from start to finish, especially the comedy moments provided by the kilt-wearing Scotty Snowman and the Cowboy Snowman. There’s limbo-ing fruit, a stage full of dancing toys and an abundance of dancing animals. The set design is magical too, with silhouettes and lighting used to enhance the overall delight of this show.
Of course, everyone is waiting for the flying scene. Don’t worry! It’s there, song and all, bringing a festive tear to the eye. Just lovely.