I’d forgotten just how good Slava’s Snowshow is and how many surprises there are along the way while watching the show. I last saw the show almost four years ago when I took my then ten year old son.
I headed along to the opening night of the current season of Slava’s Snowshow at the Regal Theatre last night. It’s been said that Snowshow is to clowning what Cirque du Soleil is to Circus.
It was a dream. A dream that on Thursday the 13th it snowed in the auditorium of the “New Opera” theatre in Moscow. Snow covered the entire floor, all the chairs, and all those who sat in them. A marvellous dream it was. Well-disposed oligarchs and icy pop stars in tuxes smiled in beguilement, even dropping themselves into the gathering snowdrifts. Suddenly a wind began to blow, hard as only hurricanes know, and music to deafen one’s ears to sepulchral silence. Fear gripped us in anticipation of what was to come.
But the lights came up – and out shuffled a clown with small, meditative Kabuki-theatre steps: a figure in vastly-oversized yellow overalls and red fluffy slippers. A rope in his hands coiled into a noose, then – slipping like rosaries through his fingers – framed his face in portrait, became a leash, then a jump-rope, and then an Alpinist’s life-line… a hawser from which a friend – one of a clan of buffoons in hats with helicopter-blade ear-flaps and ski-esque elongated booties – dragged himself out…
I dreamt that there is no such thing as postmodernism, but only the primacy of feeling, an ancient purity of emotion. The touch of fine fingers on a spot-lit balloon in the dark… And – look – the balloon has flown away! Slava the clown weeps. With forbidding whistle, he sternly orders it back; with gentle persuasion, he beseeches the escapee to return; he blisters and boils with rage, then whistles out his longing. And the balloon drifts back, bulging a fat yellow smile, dangling its rosy little thread by his side, and then! – explodes in his arms. The poor baggy sod in red slippers – he couldn’t withstand the momentary bliss of his sudden repossession…
I’m feeling a little conflicted right now. I so much want to tell you about the magic of the show. I want to describe the excitement of the various elements which make up the experience but I don’t want to spoil the surprises for anyone who may go to the show. And I can assure you, there are plenty of surprises.
You may have been to shows before that let a few audience members interact with the cast. This show isn’t like that. When you go to Slava’s Snowshow everyone will have opportunity to be part of the show in one way or another.
It may be called a ‘snow show’ but it has the effect of melting hearts. You can see walls continuing to come down until each and every person in the theatre is totally immersed in the experience. Even those adults who earlier sat quietly as they enjoyed the entertainment on stage are transported back in time to become children again.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of the most moving moments is when the action moves from the stage and ends up with adults effectively being given license to play like children. I defy even the most hard hearted to leave the show without having been swept up in the glorious emotion of the evening.
Slava’s Snowshow is on in Perth at the Regal Theatre until the 4th of August. If it ever comes to a theatre near you … don’t miss it.