🎭 The Snowman
📍 Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT
🗓 Friday 24th November 2023
SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT
After growing up watching the animated film adaptation of the classic Raymond Briggs story The Snowman, I entered the Peacock Theatre on Friday night with high expectations and a great level of excitement. I adored the idea of seeing this story come to life on the stage, told through dance.
Unfortunately I was bitterly disappointed with this production. For me it completely missed the mark in every aspect in an unpleasant butchering of this beloved tale. This may sound harsh but it is the best way to sum up my feelings. It is very rare for me to write a negative review such as this because the reason I began my theatre review journey was to support theatre, but I promised myself from the start that I would always be honest with my opinions and there are always going to be productions that everyone will find unenjoyable.
It is also important for me to publish a more critical review on the website because it proves just how subjective theatre really is, and the fact that we all enjoy different things. The point of this is not to rip the production apart as I never want to be nasty.
So what is wrong with The Snowman? Firstly, with a run time of almost 2 hours it is just too long. I became disengaged very quickly with the piece so I can only imagine how hard it was for the children in the audience to stay engaged. Everything felt really drawn out and repetitive. In my opinion this production would benefit massively with being condensed into a single act of no longer than an hour. The film version manages to cohesively tell the story in 26 minutes, so the long run time of the stage adaptation is baffling.
The choreography felt very uninspired throughout the entire piece. There seemed to be an awful lot of walking round and waving arms about in a quite frankly bizarre manner. I would describe this as a movement piece rather than a dance production. It was actually quite impressive when The Snowman and The Boy began to fly through the air, but by this point in the story I had mentally checked out. Again this just went on too long and it truthfully looked more like they were drowning than anything else!
I haven’t been quite so disappointed in anything for a long time, and for the first time in forever I contemplated leaving at the interval. I decided to stay as I know that sometimes the second act can save a show but this was not the case in this production.
The set design was actually my favourite bit about the show and although fairly simple, it worked extremely well. Some of the costumes were also great, and I especially liked some of the animals such as the badger and reindeer. The Snowman costume however was terrifying! It was not reminiscent at all of the character we all know and love and genuinely looked more like The Grinch! When you get your central character fundamentally wrong, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the production unfortunately.
The performers themselves were good, doing their best with the poor choreography and direction, but even their obvious talent could not save this. The standout performance came from the dancer who performed as the Music Box Ballerina, but without a programme or visible cast list for this performance I cannot name them as I am unsure who it was!
As someone who loves the technical aspects of theatre, I found the lighting design to be dull and lacklustre. It was almost as if it was an afterthought. It was wonderful to have a live orchestra play the enjoyable music, but vocals were recorded and a live singer would have maybe brought some of the magic this production desperately needed. When the recorded music played over the live music, the sound levels were all off and sounded dreadful.
I know I am not necessarily the target audience member for this show, however had it been more engaging and magical then maybe the adult patrons would not have been behaving in such a disgraceful manner such as having full blown conversations, filming the show and checking their social media. Aside from the production itself, this was one of the worst audience experiences I have ever had. This does not form part of my reasoning behind my star rating but I feel it is important to mention here.
Although I would never personally recommend this show, I always encourage people to make up their own minds on a production. The Snowman is playing at London’s Peacock Theatre until Saturday 30th December.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.
FULL CAST LIST:
Callum Andrew-Sterling & Martin Fenton as The Snowman; Oliver Benson, Raphael Korniets & Stanley Williams as The Boy; Ryan Upton as Father Christmas / Dad; Laura Boulter & Samantha Rodulfo as Ice Princess / Music Box Ballerina / Kung Fu Snowman / Reindeer; Barry Drummond as Jack Frost / Cowboy Snowman / Toy Soldier / Pineapple; Isaac Bowry as Jack Frost / Cowboy Snowman / Coconut; Misa Koide as Scotty Snowman / Badger / Reindeer; Bradley Applewhaite as Fred Astaire Snowman / Banana; Claire Lander as Jolly Snowman / Cat / Squirrel / Reindeer; Katrina Kelly as Tommy Cooper Snowman / Cat / Fox / Reindeer; Kimberley Lawrie as Mum / Penguin / Teddy / Rabbit; Pearl Okada as Penguin / Teddy / Rabbit; Larissa Longsee as Badger / Reindeer / Swing; Brodie Donougher & Emi Ichikawa as Swing
RUNNING TIME (approx):
I hour 50 minutes, including interval
All images used are from previous productions