Glyn Williams, Danny Hendrix and Amy Harris

Tall Stories: The Snow Dragon

Birmingham Hippodrome


The Snow Dragon by Tall Stories at Birmingham Hippodrome was a hoof-tapping magical adventure and the perfect end to our festive season.

The story follows Billy Goat as he searches for berries to leave as the annual offering to the Snow Dragon in exchange for a present which he, encouraged by his parents, assumes is guaranteed as he is No 1!

But, as we find out, things are never quite that simple and as he bumps (and butts) his friends Spike the Hedgehog and Rosie the Piglet, Billy begins to wonder whether being No 1 is the best way to ensure your present – perhaps being kind and good is what brings the Snow Unicorn/Goblin or Dragon on New Year’s Eve?

His journey ends with a close shave with two wolves who certainly make him think again encouraging Billy to “do as you would be done by”.

The show captivates, amuses and involves its audience from the get-go with amazing animal sounds (my eldest claimed it was the best goat sound he’d heard by an actor, ever) and opportunities for the children to shout out and dance along (perfect for my youngest who enjoys feeling part of the action – and cannot sit still).

The pace of songs to dialogue, physical performance and silliness is perfect for young and first-time theatre audiences, our party ranged from 16months to age nine and all remained focused for the full 55minutes.

Staging and costumes appeared simple and were incredibly effective. My eldest was particularly impressed by the set; he loved the wooden feel and the way the lighting worked to make it appear like day/night and gave the impression of ice.

The simple costume changes were enough to create the illusion of different animals and my youngest has discussed at length the colour of the braces he will need to now own to be like Billy (for info, he needs orange ones).

The Snow Dragon itself was magical – on its arrival all the parents gasped, and the children were silenced – in a lovely way! Both my apprentice reviewers agreed the Snow Dragon looked better than they had imagined, and I think not being played by one of the cast gave it an almost mythical feel.

The cast were fantastic and so energetic! Danny Hendrix as Billy was great as the head-strong lead, full of fun and full of his own position as top boy (goat), we believed him on his journey from believing a present was his right to a deeper understanding of the idea of gift giving. Glyn Williams and Amy Harris played multiple roles (all incredibly entertaining) without missing a beat and both my boys were huge fans of the Hedgehog and Piglet!

I suspect The Snow Dragon would work at any time of year, however after the excesses of Christmas it was the perfect moment to remind my two that it is kindness, being a good friend and living by the motto ‘do as you would be done by’ as we start the inevitable count-down to next Christmas!

The Snow Dragon runs until Sunday 7 January, my apprentice reviewers and I strongly recommend it for children new to theatre as well as those looking for something special to end their festive season.

Helen Annetts

(With apprentice reviewers: Charlie Statham (age nine) and Joe Statham (age five))

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