It begins to look a lot like Christmas when I hear that Slava is in town. When the concept of the show was explained to me two years ago, I didn’t get it: a bunch of very sad-looking clowns reflecting the most beautiful parts of humanity in a dreamlike state at the Royal Festival Hall? I couldn’t comprehend how the rave reviews from the offset had come about, especially for this show which has no language or words. And then I had a think about Stomp! and The Blue Man Group, and I decided to go along.
It’s no exaggeration that this was the best decision I have ever made: watching the show has truly altered my perception of different forms of performance art for the better. Every single award it has won across the globe is utterly well-earned and truly deserved.
Slava Polunin, the creator of the show, along with much of the cast have trained in several different disciplines, but mainly mime. It was when Polunin experimented with clownery and birthed his clown character of Assassai that this majesty came to be. It’s a show for people of all ages, although the interactive elements and snow special effects attract children. The show does this so well, in fact, that soon I watched my inner child scamper up and shout along.
It’s really difficult to try to explain what is sincerely one of the top five theatrical performances I have ever seen (and I’ve seen loads!) when it doesn’t even have a storyline. The main character is a part of Polunin’s inner self, as are the rest of the cast. Portraying different thoughts, feelings and poignant moments floating with the exact purposeless manner in which a dream behaves is a remarkable feat in itself, but turning this series of seemingly random musings into something that keeps our interest unwaveringly is phenomenal – a very philosophical idea in such a simple form.
Parts are so genuinely touching and tender, and small facial expressions so expressive, that the patrons at the very back audibly sighed in the exact manner as the front row. It’s a very sensory experience, in that touch, sound and visuals contribute to the multi-dimensional and immersive experience.
This was my third viewing of this show: I was equally as eager to see it as I have been each time before and I wasn’t disappointed. There have been a few minor changes, but the creators are astute enough to keep the best parts. I screamed with laughter with the exact same ferocity as I did the first time, my tummy and cheeks aching from the wildly impulsive childish abandon. I would advise you not to blink, because you don’t want to miss a thing.
Slava’s Snowshow is running until 6 January at the Royal Festival Hall. For tickets and more information see the Slava’s Snowshow website.