Currently in it’s 25th year, Slava’s Snowshow first came to the UK in 1994 and has travelled to over 80 cities worldwide. This event is part of the Wintertime at Southbank season.
Part theatrical clowning and part visual effects, Slava’s Snowshow is a global multi-award winning sensation. It has won Time Out, Olivier, and Drama Desk awards for unique theatrical performance. It is produced by Matthew Gale and Mark Goucher.
Slava Polunin, Artistic Director of St Petersburg State Circus, leads the company of clowns. The clowning is extremely well done with gestures, movement and facial expressions conveying the bemused, tender yet mischevious clowns. Some parts are cliched clown movements, such as falling off a chair and getting tagled up but this was to be expected given elements of mime, pantomine and Commedia del’Arte are recognisable. It also reminded me of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
The costumes, music, sound effects and visual effects help to make this production something different. Smoke machine were used extensively throughout the production.
Musically, there were two main themes. One was slightly more upbeat featuring a saxophone and contributed to a mischevious feel of the clowns, and one a slightly more sombre piece featuring high-pitched instruments. Some familiar tunes such as Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana were used effectively.
There was also some audience participation though I don’t want to say too much for those of you who may go. If you do go, I’d recommend staying in your seat during intermission.
The show was great fun and we felt like kids again. Indeed, a note from Polunin in the programme says he wanted to create a show that would “help the spectators be released from the jail of adulthood” and take “us back to our childhood”. This production definitely achieves its aim.
A delightful treat for all ages that brings a smile to your face and reminds you to take joy in simple things.
Slava’s Snowshow is on for a strictly limited time until 4th January 2018. For ticket prices and performance times please visit the website.
Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall