Magical dance theatre production The Snowman is a winsome winter warmer of a show that will banish those troublesome January blues.
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre performance proved to be the perfect mid-week pick-me-up for audience members of all ages on press night at Milton Keynes Theatre. Effortlessly combining a timeless tale with visual spectacle, The Snowman whisks transfixed theatregoers off to a place of nostalgia, innocence and satisfyingly snowy Christmases.
The wide-eyed wonder of a child enjoying the festive season is captured with grace and good-humour in this charming interpretation of Raymond Briggs’ beloved children’s picture book, published in 1978, and the subsequent 1982 animated film.
Waking up on Christmas Eve, a young boy is delighted to discover that it is snowing. He eagerly rushes outside, gets acquainted with the white stuff and sets to work building a snowman. That evening, the anticipation of Christmas Day’s imminent arrival means the boy is more reluctant to go to bed than ever before. Still restless in the middle of the night, he sneaks downstairs and creeps outside to check up on his snowman. To his astonishment, The Snowman comes alive and the pair share a special, starry-skied adventure.
Spectacular stage show The Snowman dances into town this month
Prepare to be whisked off to a winter wonderland when heart-warming stage show The Snowman flies into Milton Keynes Theatre.
Based on the celebrated 1982 animated film, which was inspired by Raymond Briggs’ 1978 children’s book, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production portrays the adventure a young boy enjoys when he and his snowman share a magical night of friendship, fun and flying.
The Snowman stage show is presented annually in London at The Peacock Theatre and has become a much-loved festive tradition for audiences. The five-week Christmas 2017 run marked the production’s 20th year at the West End venue, making it the longest-running Christmas show in English theatre history.
Dancer James Leece plays the title role in the stage show version of classic Christmas cartoon The Snowman.
Between performances and festive family fun, he found time for a chat about choreography, costumes and childhood nostalgia with Georgina Butler.
James Leece was born in Aberdeen and trained at The Royal Ballet School and London Studio Centre. He began his professional performing career dancing for Matthew Bourne’s company in the early days when it was called Adventures in Motion Pictures and continued when it became Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. James has performed roles in Bourne’s Swan Lake, Nutcracker!, Highland Fling, Edward Scissorhands and The Car Man. Further theatre credits include being Robbie and first cover Johnny in the West End production of Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre, and starring as the leading man, Don Lockwood, in the 2013/2014 UK tour of Singin’ In The Rain.
Currently, James Leece is one of two performers alternating the title role in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of The Snowman at The Peacock Theatre, London dance house Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue. This enchanting show is based on the 1982 animated film, which was inspired by Raymond Briggs’ 1978 children’s book. The narrative sees a young boy and his snowman share a magical night of friendship, fun and flying.
Directed by Bill Alexander, the stage show tells the story entirely through music and dance. It features a musical score and lyrics by the film’s composer Howard Blake – including the classic theme song Walking in the Air – and choreography by Robert North.
The Snowman is now an annual seasonal staple in the capital. The five-week Christmas 2017 run marks the production’s 20th year at The Peacock Theatre, making it the longest-running Christmas show in English theatre history. In November 2017 the cast toured the show to Manchester and Glasgow. The tour will resume throughout January 2018, with performances in Southampton, Milton Keynes and Brighton.
Without a doubt, The Snowman has become a much-loved festive tradition for audiences and cast members alike. Indeed, James is presently donning the fluffy white Snowman suit for his sixth year in the title role. A father to two young children, and an experienced performer, he is full of admiration for this timeless show…
“Singin’ in the rain…”
What a glorious feeling it is to watch Singin’ in the Rain, which boasts one of the most memorable dance scenes in history, tap and splash its way across Milton Keynes Theatre’s freshly-flooded stage.
Singin’ in the Rain showers audiences with plenty of uplifting song and dance numbers but that classic sequence from the beloved 1952 MGM movie has got to be one of my absolute favourites. The film starred the late Gene Kelly – a Hollywood legend whose energetic, athletic dancing style and suave good looks make him a hard act to follow.
Happily, director Jonathan Church and choreographer Andrew Wright ensure a superbly staged production and this routine in particular is met with rapturous applause. Royal Ballet School trained James Leece makes the role of silent movie matinee idol Don Lockwood his own – with a sprinkling of Kelly-esque mannerisms. He buoyantly bounds through the downpour, dashing from puddle to puddle and kicking sweeping sprays of water into the first three rows of the stalls.