• Dec 09,2022
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Review: The Snowman-fills and breaks your heart at the same time, enchanting till the very end-Sadler’s Wells until 31 Dec

Since 1997, Sadler’s Wells has presented The Snowman every December at the Peacock Theatre and what a smashing Christmas show it is! Just like the book and the film, there are no words, apart from the lyrics of the central song “Walking in the Air”. This song accompanies a major scene in the show with special effects including the Snowman and boy flying high over the stage (with assistance of wires and harnesses). Hearing this song brought back childhood memories – something about it fills your heart and breaks it at the same time. Both my five-year-old nephew, my companion on the evening and I, were mesmerized by this scene, and I was transported into a childlike world of imagination.

The rest of the story is wordless and is told through actions, movement and music, scored by Howard Blake. The production has no doubt had several revisions over the years like the inclusion of Jack Frost and an ‘ice princess’ beautiful ballerina, but most of it feels familiar to the story and you get a real sense of calm from the much-loved ‘Snowman’ character. The lack of dialogue allows you to focus on the uplifting music, eye-catching costumes, magical stage design and lighting, and amazing choreography by Robert North. The ballet dancing is effortlessly flawless. The show is charming throughout with unexpected surprises like the arrival of leaping animal characters making us sit tall in our seats to capture it all. The cat character is fabulous in her slick black costume! And then there is the arrival of Father Christmas himself, which the kids lapp up, just like the pretend ‘snow’ falling in our part of the auditorium at the end of the show.

Although we know the ending would be sad, the cast do a fantastic job of quickly digressing away from it with a quick scene change and all of a sudden, the audience is clapping away to scenes of joyful dancing and get swept away in all the fun. Other scenes of snowmen dancing earlier in the show add to the party vibe. What with all the kids in the audience you kind of feel like you’re at a kid’s Birthday party most of the time!

To think the picture book was first published in 1978 and the film came out in Dec 1982, this story will forever remain a Christmas classic and seasonal favourite. Sadlers Wells’ stage version of this timeless and magical story about imagination and friendship, as well as love and loss is enchanting till the very end. My nephew gave it 100 out of 10.

Tickets: The Snowman – Peacock Theatre – Sadler’s Wells (sadlerswells.com)

Image (c) Tristram Kenton 

Written by Jules Nelson

Read Julia’s latest review here Review: The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! – Four actors tell the tragic story in Jermyn Street Theatre’s playful adaptation-on until 17 Dec – Abundant Art


25th London Season – dedicated to creator of The Snowman, Raymond Briggs CBE 1934-2022

A magical stage adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Raymond Briggs and the film directed by Dianne Jackson

The Snowman is directed by Bill Alexander and features music and lyrics by Howard Blake, including the song ‘Walking in the Air’, spectacular design by Ruari Murchison, magical lighting by Tim Mitchell, and amazing choreography by Robert North, all of which is accompanied by a live orchestra.

The Home of The Snowman™


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