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Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, one thing’s for sure: you’ll have never seen anything like Slava’s Snowshow before.
And therein lies the problem in trying to blog about it. It’s impossible to do it justice without giving too much away. Still, I’ll give it my best shot. The show is the brainchild of Russian performance artist and clown, Slava Polunin, and has proven to be a box office smash hit in cities around the world, among them New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Rio and Moscow. The fact that this is a full length show almost exclusively mimed is what makes it so accessible to international audiences. Putting it simply, Slava and his co-stars are a bunch of clowns larking around against the backdrop of a wintery set.
I only took my eldest son as the show is not recommended for under-eights. There is nothing overtly frightening or inappropriate, but darkness and the very loud noises might prove somewhat scary for little ones. Even my eight-year-old took a while to get to grips with it, repeatedly asking “what’s happening?” and “what’s it about?” I did my best to explain that it wasn’t really about anything other than clowns being silly in the snow. Once he accepted that, he loved it.
And what’s not to love? Madness and mayhem ensues when Slava and his fleet of floppy-hatted clowns take over the massive auditorium at the Royal Festival Hall. This is a venue accustomed to hosting orchestras and world-famous artistes. Audiences tend to be respectful and restrained. But not during Slava’s Snowshow. In this production, the actors clamber over your seats, spray you with water and throw your coats on top of your heads. A giant web descends over the stalls, trapping the bewitched spectators until well into the intermission. There’s a blizzard, a storm and lots and lots of snow.
Nevertheless it is the finale, which I won’t spoil, that is the best thing about this magnificent spectacle. My son sat beside me, holding on to me, eyes wide with amazement. He and the rest of us were under the spell of Slava’s pure Christmas magic.
Slava’s Snowshow at Royal Festival Hall until 8 January 2012. Book tickets