During the winter season at the theatre your family go-to would normally be a pantomime of some kind, but there is much more to be said in The Snow Child without the use of any dialogue. This winter’s tale takes your family on a soul-warming journey; though aimed primarily at young children there is enough engagement for older audiences to enjoy the performance just as much. As the snow begins to fall, a couple who long for their own child build a snow child and so brings the show to life.
Thomas Eccleshare and Lucy Hopkins encapsulate the folklore tale with their expressive actions and movements that allow the story to be easy for all to understand and empathise with. Never breaking from character, it’s easy to let your imagination run with their professional performance.
Filled with laugh-at-life humour from the get go, rapturous laughter from the younger side of the audience makes it difficult for even the most serious to stifle a grin. The stage immerses you almost immediately with its use of atmospheric lighting hanging from the ceiling and a ‘snow-filled’ to the brim ball pit, which Eccleshare and Hopkins explore and use all of the stage to its best capacity. Though aimed at making 3+ year olds laugh there are a number of cultural movie references that are not necessarily relevant but that adults can appreciate.
The vivid use of colour, movement and sound together allows the audience to forget that dialogue is even needed to feel the emotion of the story. The unconventional puppetry performance was synchronous down to the tiniest of movements which emphasised the reality of the snow child.
Musically you are taken on a journey of a mix of evocative synthesised sounds as well as live classical instrumentals that coincide with and complement the mood and pace of the story.
As the story progresses from season to season and your attachment to the snow child grows, you become attentive and fully immersed in the outcome of the family’s adventure. Audience participation, though somewhat forced, is encouraged throughout and with a choreographed dance you’re helpless to its influence. As the show begins to close, the twangs of disappointment hit as it seems almost too soon to finish.
The Snow Child is playing at the Studio theatre until 7 January. For tickets, visit Sheffield Theatres.