Visit London Blog » clown Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Slava’s Snowshow at Royal Festival Hall Tue, 20 Dec 2011 12:00:26 +0000

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

]]> 1
Soap at Riverside Studios Wed, 17 Mar 2010 15:13:01 +0000

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from Soap, billed as an acrobatic extravaganza in bathtubs. Why bathtubs? But it worked so well.

Soap is a well-crafted show featuring eight incredibly talented performers, which manages to be in turns breathtaking, funny, joyful, sensual, beautiful and clever.

The format is a series of performance skits incorporating gymnastics, rope work, juggling, clowning, trapeeze, foot juggling (surprisingly cool), opera singing and water, water everywhere.

To offset the precision physicality on display, the action is tied together by a female clown who manages to be cute, naughty and highly amusing without ever becoming annoying or twee – tough to do but she makes it look easy. As do all the performers.

The industrial set – seven bathtubs (six on stage, one on the ceiling), pipes and ship-like funnels – adds to the cutting-edge feel, as does the music at times. At other moments, we get a selection of 50s be-bop (Bobby Darin’s 1958 hit Splish Splash I was Taking A Bath) mixed with classical tunes from a soprano dressed in London’s most glamorous shower curtain.

Meanwhile the acrobats’ top-flight gymnastics were made more difficult (I imagine) but also more thrilling by the presence of H20, either in their tubs or raining from above. On dry land, this show would be impressive. Add water, and it’s nothing short of awe inspiring.

To experience Soap for yourself at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith until 25 April,  buy your Tickets to Soap today ( £20+bf).

]]> 3
James Thiérrée: Raoul at the Barbican Thu, 15 Oct 2009 16:01:51 +0000 James Thiérrée: Raoul. Photo by Richard Haughton

Tuesday night saw the premiere at the Barbican Theatre of James Thiérrée’s new work, Raoul. I should really have blogged about this yesterday but I’ve only just picked my jaw off of the floor!

The virtuosity of this one man (or is it?) show has to be seen to be believed. He has been variously described as an acrobat, a clown, a poet and a magician. Raoul showcases all these aspects to Thiérrée’s performance and his skill blends them into a dystopian narrative where Raoul confronts his many demons. His world is wonderfully realised on stage and the set and lighting all have their part to play in the performance.

Thiérrée’s physical theatre may draw many references to his familial connections. His grandfather was Charlie Chaplin and his parents work as Le Cirque Invisible, who performed earlier this year at the Southbank Centre. In Raoul, he mixes his own miming and comic performing with spectacular puppets. A ghostly elephant, a metallic crayfish and a huge jellyfish all pass through Raoul imaginings. There is also a textile fish which was reminiscent of the fish from The Singing Ringing Tree, but that only added to the other-worldly atmosphere.

The work is virtually silent but the accompanying music interprets the movement and moods perfectly. I loved the Tarif de Haidouks interpretation. When the performance finished with some stunning acrobatic wire work it received a hugely deserved standing ovation.

The show continues at the Barbican until October 24 and is suitable for older children as well as adults. At the time of writing, tickets are still available.

]]> 1