REVIEW: The Snowman@ The Opera House, Manchester

snowmanmanc4JPGYou can tell Christmas is coming when the city’s lights switch on, when John Lewis launches its festive advert, and when the Snowman arrives in Manchester.

And this production, brought to the stage by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company aimed to please. Most of the youngsters who saw this festive music and dance extravaganza seemed impressed.

But if the reaction of the two brothers sitting front of me was anything to go by, opinion was definitely divided. One of them was clapping with joy, drinking in every moment like a cup of hot chocolate. The other refused to take his coat off and was determined to wear a frown throughout.

I could see the point of view of both of these youngster. It was certainly a charming stage interpretation of the Raymond Briggs classic children’s book, with some heartwarming scenes sure to melt even the heart of Jack Frost. And of course there was the magical walking in the air scene accompanied by that unmistakable music.

But for a 21st Century audience this show which, I’m told has been tweaked over the years, could have delivered a lot more. The clunky scene changes in the first half which saw the stage in darkness for minutes at a time jarred and what you don’t want is for child to say “is it finished now? Can we go home?”

And the flying scene was good, but could have been so much better with the use projections and more special effects.

Having said all that, this production undoubtedly got the seal of approval from the vast majority of the children in the audience and will no doubt prove to be a big hit on its tour.

Dave Toomer

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