The Snowman enchants at the Birmingham Rep

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, The Snowman made a triumphant return to the place where it all started last night, when it opened at the Birmingham Rep, delighting audiences of all ages. The timeless story of a little boy whose snowman comes to life and takes him on a unforgettable adventure is a delight, and in the charming Lewis Chan, it has a truly adorable leading man.

The Snowman is based on the classic Raymond Briggs story that was later turned into a animated film that is now a perennial classic, with the beautiful ‘Walking in the Air’ as much a part of Christmas as mince pies are. The theatre version is just as stunning and memorable, a perfect combination of mime and acting, music and dance, all held together with snowy backdrops and adorable life sized toys and animals.

The Boy (Lewis Chan) is excited to see the outside world transformed into a winter wonderland, and heads outside to enjoy the snow, making a rather large snowman in his garden. When night falls and his parents are asleep, the Boy creeps out to check on his snowman. He finds it has magically come to life and starts out on a night of adventure, first in the confines of his home, and then, after ‘Walking in the Air’, in a wonderful world of Snow people and Ice Princesses and even a certain Santa Claus. But even the best of adventures have to end, with the boy flying back to his bedroom as the sun comes up on Christmas Morning. But was it all a lovely dream?

Set-Up shots showing The Snowman @ Birmingham Rep Theatre.
©Tristram Kenton 

As mentioned, Lewis Chan was simply lovely in the role of the boy. Charming and adorable in a role could be annoying, Oscar had just the right amount of wide eyed wonder and his dancing and acting were both admirable. Also wonderful was the Snowman played by Martin Fenton, who managed to be both graceful and lumbersome in his dance with the enchanting Ice Princess. The beautiful sets added so much to the story, and the moment when The Snowman and The Boy finally soar into the sky actually had me wiping tears away – a lovely, magical moment.

Set-Up shots showing The Snowman @ Birmingham Rep Theatre.
©Tristram Kenton

There are not many theatrical experiences that offer the opportunity to watch a giant pineapple, coconut and banana limbo dancing, and with a stunning ending that I won’t spoil here (clue, you usually have to be outside to experience this), The Snowman continues to delight and enthrall audiences just like it did during Christmas 1993.

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The HOUSE at The REP

Click here for ticket and performance information.

Portable North Pole spreads Christmas Cheer

One of the most magical things about having a child is their belief in Father Christmas. I have always been a lover of all things Christmassy, but my joy in the festive season changed completely when I was once again able to see if through a child’s eyes. My Joe is almost 10, but still believes in Santa, and when he receives a message from the man himself through Portable North Pole,he still gets really excited, although trying to act cool. It is a real magical moment.

Portable North Pole is a brilliant concept which delivers a personal message to your child from Santa, direct from the North Pole.  Very easy to create, you can upload all the things that make the message personalized, from photographs of your child on special occasions, a picture of your house so Santa can show he knows exactly where you live, and also information about what your child would like as a gift, any special achievements this year, and even the names of friends which are added to Santa’s library. The attention to detail is unique and impressive, and the video are also funny, this year they have added more, from The Magic Carousel, The wrapping machine and the elves magic door. There are also calls from the Man in red himself that can be added to your package.

The Portable North Pole console also gives you the unique ability to create a personalized phone calls, whilst you can also create a special message to be played on Christmas Eve. And, sharing the love around, a percentage of all online store sales are distributed among 40-plus Children’s Hospitals around the world.

You can create a short version of the video for free, or a premium version with more images, choice of storylines and added detail for just £8.99.

 

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This is such a wonderful idea that adds a little more Christmas sparkle to the most wonderful time of the year.

Check out all the products offered by PNP by clicking her.

Christmas Magic with The Nutcracker

Christmas really came to town in Birmingham on Friday with the opening night of The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s yuletide classic at the Birmingham Hippodrome.  A full house for the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production showed that this evergreen classic shows no sign of losing its ability to enchant, with this particular production stunning in both dance and visually through the incredible sets.

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The Nutcracker tells the story of a wonderful family Christmas Eve, with the initial scenes dominated by a wonderful Christmas tree. This is a picture box Victorian Christmas scene, one that could’ve come from a Christmas card, or the top of a quality street tin, the tableaux is so vivid and beautiful. A young girl, Clara beautifully danced with charm and innocence by Karla Doobar) is gifted a nutcracker doll, one that is then broken by her brother. The doll, however, seems to be a thing of magic, as proved when it is miraculously put back together, and when Clara creeps downstairs that same night to play with her new doll, she is suddenly transported to a world where Nutcracker dolls are real, rats are enormous and a Sugar Plum fairy proves to be the epitome of beauty and grace.

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Visually, this ballet is a feast for the eyes. The end of act 1, where Clara and her handsome Prince travel to the Land of Snow , is one of the most beautiful scenes I have seen in any ballet, with the Birmingham Hippodrome transformed into a winter wonderland with snow falling onto a stage full of silvery dancers and exquisite trees.  The second half starts with Clara flying across the stage on a white swan, a scene that is just magical, particularly for the younger members of the audience.

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The second scene is dominated by the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, with Momoko Hirata just so beautiful in this role. Her dance with the Prince is supremely romantic, and when, at the end of it, Clara finds herself back home, you find yourself wishing she could’ve stayed for just one more dance – you simply don’t want it to end.

Spellbinding magic for all the family. The Nutcracker is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until December 13. Click here for ticket information.