If you also wince when you hear “clowns” or “children’s entertainment” mentioned in connection with Slava’s Snowshow, don’t be put off by visions of custard pies flying through the air or hordes of screeching kids. These clowns wear their conventional funny hats, mournful eyes and talk mainly with their offbeat props, but the traditional buffoonery ends there. This Snowshow is a quirky surreal slice of fantasy that should be kept in a snowglobe for later generations to admire. Enfolding the audience in a cloud of tickertape, dry ice, and snowstorms, you are swept up in a cloud of poetic foolishness and sweetnatured slapstick as the clowns create sketches of a child’s fantasy world. They turn their bed into a sailing ship, answer gigantic phones, tease each other, roll gigantic snowballs along the stage, shovel silver glitter on the front row, and clamber out on to the stalls’ seats, getting the audience to help them wander nimbly from headrest to headrest. The show, originally from Russia, has now been seen by more than 2.5 million in over 30 countries, and will do even better if it can manage to overcome some slight flaws. The pace drags a little in the first act, and there is a fair amount of guesswork involved as to what is going on. Watch for the tiny balloon gag and loveletter sketch. It may get a bit boisterous and frolicsome with some of the gags, such as the massive woolen web flung over the audience may make you feel like Bilbo Baggins warding off gigantic spiders, fun though it is. However, the finale makes up for all its faults, ending the show on a high note - a cross between a kids’ version of a Scissor Sisters’ concert, a crazy PE lesson, and a great party no-one wants to leave. Nina Romain (reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London, 2007)
- Nina Romain
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