As escapist fantasies go, Raymond Briggs' book is a perfect seasonal treat for children. It's now developed into something of a colourful Christmas institution as this musical adaptation returns for a 6th year at the Peacock Theatre. A boy embarks on a magical adventure with his snowman, the pair venturing to the North Pole for some festive frolics before returning home in time for Christmas morning.
Containing all the right ingredients to delight the under sixes, the show's big pluses are Paul Clarke's delightfully bumbling Snowman and Thomas Knight's terrific performance as the boy. He projects complete ease on stage and is thoroughly persuasive as a child given his own glimpse of a magical winter wonderland. Whether dancing with a pineapple from the fridge, seeing his hands turn into icicles at the kitchen sink or merrily waltzing with a penguin, Clarke's Snowman is equally impressive.
Some of Bill Alexander's sequences are a trifle over-sentimental and the enchantment factor wavers but the show does possess genuinely uplifting moments such as the delightful flight to the strains of "Walking in the Air" which concludes the first half. At the very end the boy discovers that his snowman has melted in the morning sun but then it begins to snow afresh; it's the perfect metaphor for the show itself as any disappointment is compensated for with glimpses of real charm.