Review: THE SNOWMAN, Peacock Theatre

An absolute classic- except for the delightful limbo-ing exotic fruit!

By: Nov. 20, 2023
Review: THE SNOWMAN, Peacock Theatre

Review: THE SNOWMAN, Peacock Theatre

Birmingham Rep's The Snowman is currently playing its 26th year at The Peacock Theatre, adapted from the charming 1978 picture book by Raymond Briggs and inspired by the 1982 film. The production markedly extends the story, with significant updates and beautifully  directed by Dianne Jackson.

Instantly we are struck by the set, which is truly astounding. An enormous magical snow globe features, with sloping snow-covered jagged trees and a treetop style bedroom, ships and whales, all expertly created by Birmingham Rep workshops.

We are introduced to The Boy, angelically played by Oliver Benson, Raphael Korniets and Stanley Williams, the latter we see during our evening performance, who does wonders in connecting us to the marvel of the winter display.

The excitement of Christmas builds as we see a chorus of musicians and carol singers walk by the wonderland as The Boy works to build the famous Snowman. The idyllic lifestyle of the family is presented, with a fussing mother ensuring her son is warm and the father dozing on the armchair. A clock is projected as the hour and minute hands turn, leaving us with anticipation of the Snowman awaking. The moment of coming of life is filled with joy.

Iconic scenes are recreated where the Snowman enters the house and becomes endangered by the warmth, but familiar moments are also embellished, with a frisky cat playfully portrayed by Katrina Kelly causing mayhem, unsettled by the pulling of its tail. Clever use of red and flickering lighting by Lighting Designer Tim Mitchell, highlights the Snowman nearly melting, alongside gorgeous warmth in latter scenes which bathe the set.

Photo: © <a target=Tristram Kenton" height="399" src="" width="600" />
Photo: © Tristram Kenton

The snowman exchanges his classic clementine fruit nose for a number of fruit options and the development of a scene, where exotic fruits dance out of a fridge is unexpected but delightful, as children in the audiences shriek to see a coconut, pineapple and banana limbo-ing beneath a balanced broom. My 8-year-old daughter found this part particularly exciting. An orange glow with shadow palm trees feels a bit tropical, but seems to go down rather well with the audience.

A beautiful scene with a Music Box Ballerina features Laura Boulter and Samantha Rodulfo, bringing actual ballet to the production, which otherwise relies on contemporary dance. A Toy Soldier is a little jarring, due to a prop of a large musket, however a teddy bear and large tambourine prop keep the segment balanced. Long blackout scenes could also do with a pacier scene change, transitioning whilst the action continues in order to keep the flow.

The motorbike with side car scene is nicely put together with the addition of a bunny, fox, squirrel and badger, each in beautiful fluffy costumes brilliantly created by Birmingham Rep workshops twelve Costume Makers and Applied Arts team.

Review: THE SNOWMAN, Peacock Theatre
Photo: © Tristram Kenton

The moment of absolute wonder comes as The Boy and The Snowman fly to the stunning sounds of "We’re Walking in the Air", to an elated audience. A notable epic orange glowing moon and dance sequences with the various snowmen, an Ice Princess, penguins, Santa and three reindeer is visually pleasing.

The entrance of the character of Jack Frost, played by Isaac Bowry brings a new direction to the classic, skilfully building tension between himself, The Snowman and the Ice Princess, but this ultimately settles harmoniously. Various parts of the auditorium scatter fake snow to a thrilled audience.

Review: THE SNOWMAN, Peacock Theatre
Photo: © Tristram Kenton

As ever, the melting of the Snowman is heartbreakingly unbearable and overwhelming. The Snowman is the epitome of Christmas cheer, welcoming the winter season with its creative imagining for children and adults alike.

The Snowman is running at The Peacock Theatre until 30 December 2023.

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