The story may now be nearly 40 years old but nothing about The Snowman, including The REP's delightful stage adaptation, feels tired.
It's a tale of friendship, fun and ultimately loss, but above all the innocence and adventure of childhood. And if anything can capture the imagination of young children and melt even the coldest of hearts it's this. Now itself more than 20 years old, it's no wonder the crowds flock back to watch the magic unfold every year.
The show stays true to the original story while introducing some delightful new elements; most notably a series of well-placed dance routines which were performed beautifully throughout.
True to the animation the most you'll hear aside from the music is a 'ho ho ho' from Santa. In such shows the acting skill lies in interpreting the story without over-playing it and Oscar Couchman, as the young boy, managed this perfectly, producing a captivating performance. His relationship with the snowman was a joy to watch. A series of familiar and colourful characters contrast beautifully with the set's snowy background as the action moves with pace and builds to a wonderful crescendo at the close of act one with an enchanting rendition of Walking in the Air filling the theatre as the young boy and the snowman fly off into the distance.
The flying was well-executed and visually effective and the opening night was going swimmingly until a major technical error right near the end just as the boy and the snowman were taking off on their final journey.
This unfortunately led to a stoppage of around ten minutes and because it happened so close to the end it really halted the momentum built up from a series of delightful dance routines in the second act with the result that the emotional impact of the final scene was lost to those who hadn't already left.
Alas, in theatre these things happen and huge praise must go to the cast, particularly Oscar, for returning to the stage and completing the final iconic scene and then an energetic dance climax as if nothing had happened. They and the orchestra were rightly rewarded with rapturous applause. Technical glitch aside this really is a magical show.
Above all it's a stark reminder for both young and old that when you dare to put down your iPad or TV remote there's nothing quite like good old-fashioned family entertainment like this. There's no complicated story or plot twists to follow, just leave your troubles at the door, sit back and let this enchanting adaptation of one of the most magical stories ever told melt your heart.
The Snowman plays at The REP until 24 January.
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