Wellingborough Snowman star walking in the air with magical Christmas West End show

The Wellingborough schoolboy is starring in the much-loved family show

Friday, 26th November 2021, 5:08 am
Jax on the steps of the theatre where he is performing

A Wellingborough schoolboy has received rave reviews for his performance in the stage adaptation of the much-loved book and Christmas classic animated film The Snowman.

Jax Fenner has been cast in the story of the boy whose snowman comes to life and their adventures in a magical wintery wonderland.

The ten-year-old, a pupil at Redwell Primary School and a student at the Wellingborough-based Lucie Downer Performing Arts, opened the show in London' s West End this month.

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Performing up to three nights a week with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre company at the 999-seater Peacock Theatre, Jax has been walking in the air and thrilling audiences.

Proud father John Fenner, owner of the Pumphouse Cafe in the Nene Court shopping village, has seen his son in the show three times and says there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

He said: "When they start flying in the air I've cried every time I've seen it. We are so proud - it's one of the proudest days of my life seeing him on the stage with nearly a thousand people watching him. His sister Honey is mega proud of him too."

Jax shares the lead 'boy' role with two others but he was chosen to open the run in London and has been picked to close the run after its transfer to Birmingham for the final show.

Walking in the Air - The Snowman and the boy Photo by Tristram Kenton

As well as the lovable snowman the production creates a winter wonderland filled with dancing creatures, fantastical fleet-footed fruit and of course an amazing trip to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.

The Snowman was created and illustrated by Raymond Briggs as a picture book, narrated entirely through hand-drawn illustrations and was first published in 1978. Now one of the world’s most popular picture books, The Snowman has sold in excess of 5.5 million copies globally.

Inspired by the film directed by Diane Jackson and produced by John Coates, The Snowman has become the heart of a magical Christmas for many families.

Featuring choreography by Robert North, direction by Bill Alexander, design by Ruari Murchison, lighting by Tim Mitchell and timeless music and lyrics by Howard Blake, the production has been seen by audiences of over half a million at the Peacock Theatre.

The Snowman has a party Photo by Tristram Kenton

Jax acts and dances his way through the 120-minute show, using skills honed at the Lucie Downer Performing Arts under the tutelage of former West End performer Lucie Downer.

No stranger to the London stage Lucie had a ten-year career in the West End, performed in the original cast of Shrek the Musical, Grease the Musical and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

She said: "We are so proud of Jax. I run LDPA Children’s Talent Agency as well as Lucie Downer Performing Arts and as Jax’s agent, receiving the phone call from the casting director to say that Jax had been offered a role in the West End was absolutely amazing.

"Jax has been training with us since he was six-years-old, taking part in over ten classes per week, and he has achieved so much in that time.

The Snowman and the dancing fruit Photo by Tristram Kenton

"This year he has already achieved high distinctions in his LAMDA singing and acting exams and we know performing in ‘The Snowman’ is just the start of an amazing career ahead."

The talented schoolboy takes every dance, acting and singing class that is offered, with the love of performing passed down by mum Melissa who used to enter dance competitions.

Jax has been working hard and his theatre credits include Time To Shine Arena Performance in Disneyland Paris, Stars In Their Eyes at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and Mad About The Musicals in a UK Tour.

Dad John said: "Jax started to take it seriously when he was about five or six. He does every class and is always having auditions. We'd like to thank his school for all their support.

"We are unbelievably proud. He didn't put a foot wrong in the performance - he learnt the whole thing in three weeks. He works so hard, he's incredible. We would like as many people to see the show as possible, it is really magical."

A review of Jax's performance has praised the ten-year-old. Christine Stanton on the The Reviews Hub - London said: "The boy played by Jax Fenner is impressive for his age, exuding energy and appearing just as mesmerised with everything around him as the audience is."

Jax Fenner

The Snowman is at the Peacock Theatre, Portugal St, London WC2A 2HT until Sunday, January 2, 2022 with tickets priced from £18 to £55. Family tickets are available from sadlerswells.com. The company will transfer to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from January 6 to 9, 2022 where Jax will perform in the final show.

Anyone wanting to see Jax can get in touch with John at The Pumphouse Café to find out which day Jax is performing.

The Snowman fact file

• Each performance requires 42 people to bring The Snowman to life – 17 dancers, 5 musicians and 20 stage crew.

• A total of 60 costumes are used for the show, and each one was hand made in The Birmingham Rep’s wardrobe department.

• Each of the 11 Snowman costumes took one week to make, and use more than 11 miles of white net.

• 265 individual props are used in the show.

• The Snowman is the longest running Christmas show in English theatre history.