FOR most nine-year-olds, watching classic Christmas cartoon The Snowman is the closest they will ever get to flying with the character.

But tonight, the magic will come alive for Joseph Darcey-Alden when he soars above a West End stage in an adaptation Raymond Briggs’s heart-warming tale.

The Edward Feild Primary School pupil, from Yarnton, has spent his evenings practising flying in a harness after he won the role of the little boy in The Snowman in September.

Joseph said: “I used to watch the cartoon when I was younger and always really enjoyed it. When I found out I was going to be in it, it was amazing. I was so happy.

“When I lift off the ground it’s a really magical experience. Once you’ve done it a few times, you get used to it, and feel weightless.”

The show opens tonight at The Peacock Theatre and runs until January 8. It has been a Christmas hit in London for a record 14 years.

And the television cartoon, which is wordless except for hit song Walking in the Air, has been shown on television every year since 1982.

In it, an unnamed young boy discovers his snowman has come alive, and sets off on a magical journey to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.

But in a tear-jerking moment, he finds that the next morning, the snowman has melted away.

Joseph, who is one of three boys alternating in the role, said: “It is quite emotional, but I think it’s happy at the end because it starts snowing again.

“I’m really excited about tonight, but I have a bit of nerves too because of the amount of people who are going to be there.”

Joseph has twice been named the top tap dancer in his age group at the All England Championships.

He now hopes his role in The Snowman will take him one step closer to his dream role of Billy Elliot in the hit West End musical.

His mother, Sarah Darcey-Alden, said: “We went for The Snowman audition back in September, which included a bit of dancing and acting and improvisation, and then got a phone call the following day telling us Joseph had got the part.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked. He’s such a lucky little boy.”

And Joseph is not the only star in the family. Big sister Ellie, 11, appeared in the final Harry Potter film, playing Harry’s mum Lily in flashback sequences.