CHRISTMAS wouldn't be Christmas without Raymond Briggs's The Snowman. It's as much of a festive staple as mince pies and pine trees.
Now marking almost 25 years on the stage, Bill Alexander’s dazzling production is on its way to becoming about as crucial to Christmas as Santa himself.
It starts, as you would expect, with the young boy, awakening one day to find it snowing outside. Rushing outdoors to play, he decides to build a new friend, the snowman. So begins the enchanted tale of his icy friend who comes to life to take the young boy on a magical journey he'll not forget.
Alexander's musical adaptation sticks closely to Dianne Jackson's TV original, with even the set and costumes instantly recognisable.
The stage comfortably accommodates the magical moments of the story, evoking plenty of Christmas buzz.
The scene where the boy and the snowman motorcycle through the wintry woodlands will impress the little ones, as well as the all-important flying sequence — the snowman and the boy gracefully hauled up above the stage with the help of plenty of rope — to accompany Howard Blake's illustrious Walking In The Air.
The show becomes livelier and more entertaining in the second half, which is set in the North Pole and where the fun really begins. The dance sequences with the other creatures, such as Jack Frost, the Ice Queen and Father Christmas are delightful enough.
There are times, however, when the production does feel like it drags, particularly in the first half, but it's a magical and uplifting production over all — everything a Christmas show should be.
And despite the Snowman looking a bit more Stephen King's Pennywise and less Briggs's cute and cuddly illustration, adults and children, even the younger ones, will absolutely love it.