Sunday, 24 November 2019

REVIEW: The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre

The classic tale of the Snowman is playing at the Peacock from November to January to bring joy to children and families galore. One morning, a little boy (George Nearn Stuart) wakes up and is delighted to find it is snowing. He builds a snowman who comes to life and becomes his best friend. They traipse through the house and cause chaos, try on clothes, play with toys then fly away to the North Pole. They meet Father Christmas, the Snow Princess and snowmen from all over the world who dance and party with them, until Jack Frost comes to spoil the fun. Once he has been defeated, they fly home for Christmas morning. He wakes up and thinks it is all a dream- his friend has melted- but finds a gift from Santa in his pocket. It is magical, funny and thoughtful.

Ruari Murchison’s set is stunning; you are taken aback as you enter the auditorium and Tim Mitchell’s lighting gives the illusion it is snowing heavily. The semi-circular staging is framed with large, snow-covered trees and large set pieces to build up the boy’s home. There are many scene changes as the Snowman explores the house and flies to the North Pole, the transitions were far too long to black out for and could have been made slicker. At times they were long enough for the audience to wonder if the interval had begun. The costumes are standout- from the fluffy snowmen to the woodland creatures, these have all been beautifully created and are one of the best elements of the show.

Robert North is the choreographer for this ballet and has made it more accessible for those who may not attend the ballet often by adding a heavy dose of physical theatre and a range of dance styles in the party scenes. However, act one relies too much on the physical theatre aspect, it is a long time before any dancing happens. Children may not be familiar with lyric-less music and word-less performances, so more dancing rather than slow-motion gestural movements may be more appealing to younger audiences. The Snowman is scored by Howard Blake’s composition. The live music is spectacular, but it feels like there is something missing. Most pieces sound like a filler between two scenes rather than a full score for bigger dances. More could be made of it.

The cast are wonderful and Nearn Stuart as the boy is excellent. He is adorable
and exceptionally confident for leading the show at only nine years old. He looked quite uncomfortable during the flying scene, but otherwise was brilliant and held his own alongside talented professional dancers. 

The Snowman seemed well received by the children; it has a strong enough narrative, is loving, scary, exciting and victorious all rolled into a 1 hour 40-minute show. It is festive and will be a great hit for all the family.

Review by Hannah Storey

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Stalls J19 | Price of Ticket: £40 (11am showing)
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