The Snowman, Peacock Theatre, review: ‘Enduringly magic’

This ballett’s jaunty dances and enchanting visuals will captivate any young minds, says Andrew Geehan.

You can see why this ballet based on Raymond Brigg’s classic cartoon book is enduringly popular.

Beautifully designed and costumed, boasting a live performance of Howard Blake’s hauntingly lovely score and a simple, heart-warming festive narrative , it has clearly been lavished with imagination and resources, and delivers on that often elusive Christmas magic.

Sadler’s Wells’ production is reassuringly faithful to Brigg’s quaint evocation of 50S family life – a pipe smoking dad and pinny-clad mum prepare for Christmas while their son builds a snowman.

When the boy peeks outside at midnight, his creation comes to life and explores the slumbering household, trying on mum’s hat, dad’s false teeth and dancing with an array of usually inanimate objects.

A bowlful of fruit shimmy out of the fridge and limbo beneath a broom; while toys charge around the playroom in an energetic game.

The duo startle the forest animals in a wild motorcycle night ride, then it’s time for the snowman to fly his newfound friend to the North Pole. To the stirring strains of Walking in the Air, the pair take off over icy seas and frozen wastes to a land of fairies and Father Christmas. (best take a hanky for this bit) There they dance with the other snowmen, fend off the threat of malicious Jack Frost (Scottish snowman fells him with a Glasgow kiss) and get a present from Santa before flying home. Frost is supposedly the baddie but there’s never really much jeopardy, in a show that’s about jaunty dance digressions and enchanting visuals. My four-year-old sat enthralled and rushed to catch the snowfall at the end. Magic.

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Rating: 4/5 stars

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