No business like snow business

slava's snow show

Slava’s Snowshow

Birmingham Hippodrome

***

MENTION the word clowns these days and you are likely to think more about politicians than those of the red nose kind.

But these are not just your everyday run off the mill clowns . . . they are Russian, Tony award-nominated performers. These are the kind of clowns who blend together more traditional circus skills with mime, lighting and spectacular theatre effects to create an atmosphere of amusement and wonder.

Slava Polunin, a Russian performer, created the event 20 years ago and while he is now heading into his retirement years he is still part of the cast. However as this is a heavily costumed work it’s likely that he could be replaced and the production would run successfully for many years to come without his presence.

The show is more about a theatrical experience than red noses, paperslava's snow show filled buckets and slap stick. There’s a little bit of that but not enough that you will need your waterproofs.

If anything it’s more like a sequence of living cartoons and it’s easy to imagine the whole thing as some sort of animation at some point. It’s for that fact the show is easily translatable, with no dialogue just physical gestures and music, and that fact has enabled it to be staged all over the world.

Set against a series of electronic and operatic soundtracks Slava's Snowshow builds from some simple stage gestures from the performers into literally an assault on the senses both physically and emotionally.

If anything the clowning around divides the audience into those that are and those that are not amused by their antics. There were some who seemed to be hysterically laughing at one point whilst others sat in silence.

When the big effects do happen though it’s hard to not join in, or even duck, when the whole theatre is blown over with ticker tape snow, or not to have to compete in the crazy mass volley ball game with dozens of giant 15 foot balls.  

Slava snow is especially appealing to children of all ages as just the sheer chaos of the event is a memorable experience for them.

One down side was for those that sat in the circle as the effects are concentrated on the stalls but when a couple of the huge balls made it up there were cheers and screams of delight.

It’s a bit of stretch to call this a Snow show as it’s only in the last ten minutes that the wintery theme turns up. What it is though is a colourful, non-verbal experience that will amuse you and have you out of or under your chair at some point. It is well executed and a lot of fun. To 16-11-14

Jeff Grant

13-11-14 

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