The Snowman, dance review: 'performed with bounce'

Peacock Theatre, London

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The Independent Culture

A delighted “ooh” runs round the theatre as scampering, dancing reindeer come on stage, drawing Father Christmas’s sleigh.

The Snowman, now in its sixteenth Christmas season at the Peacock Theatre, is full of the pleasures of recognition. Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production has the familiar appeal of Raymond Briggs’ book and film, and adds its own big, confident storytelling.

Directed by Bill Alexander, with choreography by Robert North, it tells its story in movement, without dialogue. The visual jokes and tricks are satisfying. The little boy’s snowball “grows” as he rolls it from one wing of the stage to the other. Flying scenes are nicely timed, with the boy and his snowman soaring to Howard Blake’s music – including the famous “Walking in the Air”.

Alexander and North invent cheerful dance scenes along the way. In the kitchen, a pineapple, banana and coconut have a limbo competition. At the North Pole, snowmen from around the world frolic with animals and a ballerina Ice Princess.

The show is pitched at younger children, with plenty of animals and jokes. It’s performed with bounce. Charlie Salsen is downright as the child hero, while the adult cast switch from parents to snowmen to cleverly-observed animals with aplomb.

Until 5 January. Box office 0844 412 4322