Despite the title The Greatest Snowman bears little resemblance to the hit 2017 movie musical in which Hugh Jackman plays PT Barnum. The title is just a hook on which to hang an immersive dining experience show.
This is the third production at Funicular’s intimate venue, designed to resemble a classic rail dining car. The comfortable space is the perfect platform for a Christmas melodrama.
Craig Wilkinson’s story is a fairly engaging fusion of Christmas lore and modern morality tale in which Santa’s daughter and her helpful elves seek out the legendary snowman who gave her father purpose.
Conveniently if somewhat oddly, she discovers Chris Heany’s enigmatic Mr Snow on a train journey from Pedley Street to Birmingham Christmas market.
As usual the design team use audio-visual elements to enhance the experience. Aside from the digital animations projected on the carriage windows, which gives the impression of flying through a winter storm, Wilkinson – who is both writer and designer – creates an array of lighting effects which effectively alter the mood of the piece.
As enjoyable and engaging as the story is, it ends far too suddenly and without proper resolution. The whole things is bolstered however by a carefully considered menu from Louisa Ellis, the Masterchef 2017 finalist, who has created several dishes for the Pedley Street team, and Ingrid Miller, who covers all the bases as both the maitre d’ and train conductor.
The company may excel at the dining and design elements of the production, but so far it’s fallen short of fashioning the perfect production to showcase them.