My 13-year-old is too old for The Snowman. When I told him we were going to review the production at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre, his eyebrows went flying. When we arrived at the theatre, Ezra’s eyebrows nearly hit the roof at the sight of all the toddlers riding shoulders and clutching Snowman balloons. He slumped into his chair as the lighting in the auditorium dimmed. Even in the semi-darkness, I could feel him rolling his eyes at me.
There were moments, however, when he couldn’t resist its pull. Like when Santa starts dancing, throwing in moves that had both my boys cracking up.
The 10-year-old was loving the show and kept nudging me and grinning. From the opening scenes where the main character struggles to get out of bed (‘he’s just like me in the morning’, Jed whispered) to when the Snowman comes to life, Jed was thoroughly entertained.
The beauty of The Snowman is in its simplicity. Based on Raymond Briggs’ heart-warming picture book and the animated movie it inspired, there is no dialogue, making it easy for even the youngest audiences to follow along.
It’s a lovely introduction to ballet for early years, with show-stopping scenes like a music box ballerina who spins into action on stage.
It’s such a gorgeous production with lighting, costumes and scenery working together to create an other-worldly environment. The orchestral soundtrack carries the story along beautifully. Only one scene of dancing fruit hit the wrong notes for me, although the kid in front of us was a very vocal fan of dancing pineapples!
I felt rushes of nostalgia throughout. It had been 8 years since we last saw The Snowman live. I’ll never forget watching the boy and his Snowman take flight and seeing the looks of wonder on my little one’s faces. Jed was only 2 but had stayed engaged from start to finish. Ezra, just 5 then, had remarked: ‘That was unusual. I’ve never seen a boy who could fly before.’ (READ OUR PREVIOUS REVIEW)
When the soaring happened this time, my teen stayed slumped in his chair. Although he wasn’t rolling his eyes any more. In fact, he couldn’t resist a smile.
Jed looked around at all the families gasping and clapping. ‘Can’t they tell it’s not real?’ I wanted to remind him that magic is about what you feel not what you see, but I had a lump in my throat.
My kids might be too grown to believe in flying snowmen or even a Santa who shimmies down chimneys. Yet it was shows like The Snowman that made them fall in love with theatre. It’s what inspired my ultra cool, football-obsessed teenager to pick Drama as a GCSE option.
Yes, magic is a feeling and it has no expiration date.
If you’re looking for a festive theatre experience that will enchant your entire family (even if they’re too cool to show it), book your tickets to The Snowman in its 22nd magical season.
Babes Review: The Snowman
Ezra, age 13
‘I’m a bit old for this but I actually thought it was a good production that stayed true to the original story. I really liked the energy of the kid on stage.’
Jed, age 10
‘It was a great show, I enjoyed the scene changes, overall it was magical. Santa dancing was pretty funny. I liked how there was barely any dialogue but you could still understand it. The effects were very realistic too. I’d rate it 5 stars or 10 out of 10. You can take anybody to see it from age 1+. It’s very child-friendly.’
The Snowman is playing at Peacock Theatre (Sadler’s Wells), Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT (Holborn tube). All ages welcome. 11am, 2.30pm & 7pm (select performances from Nov 21); off peak £18-£48/family of 4 £120, peak £22-£50/family £140, premium £25-£55/family £152 (Nov 21-Jan 5)