The Russian-born Polunin won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Slava's Snowshow following its sell-out West End run at the Old Vic in 1997. He was last seen on the London stage in a star-studded gala performance of the piece in 2004 to mark the reopening of east London’s Hackney Empire where the clown played his first-ever UK dates in 1988, before touring with Cirque du Soleil and achieving international fame (See News, 28 Jan 2004).
Outside of the UK, Slava's Snowshow has toured to more than 80 cities in 25 countries. It opened in September 2004 at New York’s Union Square Theatre, where it won the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and continues to run, featuring an ensemble of Polunin-trained clowns.
In the non-verbal piece, a group of beleaguered clowns face a series of obstacles and a barrage of meteorological conditions, including a blinding blizzard effect, that culminates in a “heart-stopping coup de theatre”.
Following Milton Keynes, Slava's Snowshow continues to London (New Wimbledon Theatre), Stoke-on-Trent, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton, Woking, Birmingham and Bath, where it concludes its UK dates on 25 November 2006.
- by Terri Paddock