So last night, I went along to see the The Snowman Tour in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the performance, having never been before and going by myself, but it was genuinely one of the most moving musical experiences I’ve ever seen.
This performance isn’t just watching The Snowman in unique surroundings, the whole show is accompanied by a host of wildly talented musicians in a small orchestra, consisting of two main parts.
The Snowman is featured in the second half of the show. The musicians played a cheery Christmas overture to get us in the mood, and then introduced the musicians and their instruments in a fun and educational piece which was great for kids to learn more about the orchestra!
The first official part to the show was a reading of The Bear and Piano by David Litchfield. The story is about a bear who discovers a piano in the woods but has no idea what it is. Over the years, he comes to be able to play the piano beautifully and regularly plays for his fellow forest dwellers.
He is discovered by a picnicking family who encourage them to join them on their journey back to New York where he becomes a big star, releasing albums and performing to sell-out concerts. However, something is missing for the bear . . . he misses his friends.
This is a story about friendship and prioritising what truly matters as you go through life, taught to small children in the gentlest of ways with the most beautiful imagination and score. I was almost frustrated by how enthralled I was with the story because I wanted to watch the orchestra, but this sort of show works so well.
It was also narrated by Joanna Lumley, who is fabulous.
After a short interval, The Snowman began. Perhaps uniquely, I knew the song from the short film since being a child, but I didn’t know the story until a couple of years ago. It didn’t matter. I was a little worried that I’d miss out on the gooey nostalgia that all the parents around me were clearly enjoying, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
How a film exceeding twenty minutes in length without a word of dialogue can captivate children as young as two or three, I’ll never know, but I was mesmerised along with them.
The Snowman is such a lovable character, and his friendship with James, the little boy, is heart-warming. It was lovely to hear all the small children cackling away at their silly capers as they cuddled up to whoever had brought them along for a fantastic afternoon treat.
. . . And then the song began. It was sang by a local schoolchild (and I believe it was a different child between the first and second performances in the ballroom), and the minute I heard the opening bars to ‘Walking in the Air’, I welled up. It’s such a tangible feeling of being a child again and spirited away by the excitement of Christmas that I hope I never, ever lose.
The young man who was singing was clear as a bell, and gave a flawless performance. Genuinely, I bawled through the whole thing, and I wasn’t alone. It was quite sweet, actually, to see brawny, bearded men pretend they were doing anything but wiping away a festive tear.
The musical performances were solid all around, and I was so impressed by how the show makes arguably classical musical accessible to children. The show is pitched at 3+, although I think I’d perhaps wait until my children (when I have them) are a little older, however only a handful of children were a little restless; most were good as gold!
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is also one of the most beautiful rooms in the UK, as far as I’m concerned . . . just look at it!
Thank you so much for the team at Carrot Productions for my ticket and inviting me along; I’ll never forget how special it was, and I can’t wait to see it again!
Love and strength,