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Review - The Snowman, Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

PUBLISHED: 10:05 20 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:05 20 December 2016

The Snowman Tour

The Snowman Tour

Tom Bangbala

The Snowman national tour stops off at the Tower Ballroom

‘Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,’ reads the inscription above the stage in Blackpool’s beautiful Tower Ballroom and the Carrot Productions Snowman tour did just that.

On paper it seems like a simple idea: an orchestra plays while the audience watch a classic family film. But in practice it adds a new layer of magic to a festive favourite which has been captivating viewers since it was first shown on Christmas Eve 1982.

But in the years since its debut the world has changed. Children today are used to touch screens, interactivity and the kind of high tech gadgetry that could not have been imagined when Raymond Briggs drew the original book.

Could they still be enchanted by the innocent tale of a boy, his snowman and a magical night-time journey? And would watching the film on a big screen with music by a live orchestra add to their experience?

Well, yes, it seems they could and it would.

The ornate Tower Ballroom was almost packed to its gilded rafters with families who clearly and audibly enjoyed themselves and lapped up the festive magic. There was even a loud ‘aawww’ when (spoiler alert) the snowman was found to have melted.

The orchestra, who were decked out in festive hats, were introduced by Dan Whibley at seven feet, probably the tallest double bass player in the world. He acknowledged that many people there might not have seen an orchestra perform before and introduced them to the largely young audience in an engaging and entertaining way. It seemed a shame though, that among the people playing the slidy fart horn and the twinkle box, there was no mention of the instruments’ more common names.

The Snowman screening followed a charming new re-telling of a older tale, Cinderella, featuring narrator Howard Chadwick, illustrations by Jacky Fleming and music composed by Dan Whibley.

It’s no mean feat to entrance an audience of youngsters into silence but they managed it with a production that’s just long enough, uses well-pitched humour and a delightful score. Special mention, too, to the soloists – Livs Ball and Neve Thomas – whose crystal clear voices did justice to both Walking in the Air and Cinderella’s Song.

It would be no surprise if this became as much of a fixture in the festive season as the Snowman.

* Carrot Productions will be back at the Tower Ballroom, and in Liverpool, next December. For more details and dates, go to carrotproductions.com.

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