I've always loved the pastel-and-crayon short film of The Snowman, which originally aired during my first ever Christmas back in 1982. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, it tells the truly magical tale of a young boy whose garden creation comes to life at midnight, taking him on an enormous adventure to see Father Christmas at the North Pole and back again, all in just a few short hours. Like so many others, I make sure to watch The Snowman every Christmas Eve, forming a tradition as firmly rooted and enjoyable as a glass of port and an OTT festive jumper.
The Snowman with Live Orchestra by Carrot Productions presents this beloved story on a huge screen, with the score and sound effects supplied by outstanding musicians, each introduced to the audience by the confident and charming double bass. I've seen this classic piece of British animation dozens of times yet never experienced it in such a celebratory atmosphere. Whereas before I'd be sat on a sofa with a small screen a few feet away, this beautiful performance not only makes it bigger and fills the venue with energy and life, but also demonstrates how the instruments are used to convey mood, rhythm and actions, which is spellbinding in itself.
The Snowman has a running time of just 27 minutes, so it's preceded by a Festive Overture and popular melodies in the form of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, a combination that's so perfectly Christmassy I guarantee you'll actually be craving sprouts in no time. There's also a high possibility that a certain someone will make an appearance, waltzing his way down the aisles to the delight of adults as well as children.
We experienced The Snowman with Live Orchestra at Hull City Hall during its one-day run. If you get chance to see this marvellous production, whether it's this year or as part of what I hope will become an annual tour, snap up some tickets before they disappear like the contents of a tin of Quality Street.
Author: Rich Sutherland, @beardybiscuits