By Peter May
Like the Coca Cola advert and Mariah Carey’s infamous Christmas jingle, there are many pop culture institutions that sum up the festive period. The Snowman will surely resonate with most, even if it is simply the original cartoon on which this stage show is based upon. Twenty years have passed since it was first turned into a theatrical production and it still packs the audience in with its simplistic fairy tale of a little boy’s adventures with a snowman he builds in his garden. We first see the boy in a cutaway set of his suburban semi home, getting all worked up about the falling snow outside his bedroom window. The next few minutes of the show are spent hastily building up to and presenting the point of the whole thing, The Snowman. The set also contributes to this sense of nostalgic wonder. It is very stylised and colourful, as are the costumes, and both rely strongly on the “Christmas image” (snow, carol singers, stockings and cocoa in front of the television).
The show opens with the unforgettable and hauntingly beautiful Walking in the Air as an accompaniment to the Boy sleeping soundly. Then, during the rest of the performance, much of the music, which is both humorous and imaginative, uses the melody from Walking in the Air as a point of inspiration. Composer Howard Blake’s song Walking in the Air was a hit in 1982 but Welsh choirboy Aled Jones’s version went to No 5 in the 1985 hit parade and established his still continuing showbiz career even his current turbulent situation. The true highlight is undoubtedly the flying sequence. It acts as the climax of nostalgia, and as such proves a very emotional experience.Making an entire production out of a five-minute cartoon means there is quite a bit of padding to make it last 90 minutes, but makes for an enjoyable watch.
Until 31 December