Creator: Slava Polunin
Director: Viktor Kramer
Reviewer: Andrea Allen
With Halloween around the corner and the remake of Stephen King’s IT recently smashing the cinema box office, it seems like these days you’re never too far away from the red noses, painted faces and slapstick comedy that are a caulrophobics worst nightmare. Slavas Snow Show proves that clowning goes so much deeper than greasepaint and big feet, stripping an at times contorted, muddied artform back to its traditional magic. Gone are the grotesque stereotypes and unsettling connotations, and instead hilarity and childlike pleasure are borne from an exuberant, joyful performance which always keeps earnestness, precision and a tinge of melancholy at its core.
Created and staged by Slava Polunin, Slava’s Snow Show can be summed up perfectly by Polunin’s lovingly adopted expression, “eccentric pantomime”. His yellow and red-clad central character is separated visually from the green and black dressed chorus, enhancing a sense of isolation and loneliness. Down to each shuffling footstep, melancholia and philosophical wistfulness are balanced with mirth and joy with ingeniously, painstaking measure. Nothing is left to chance, each movement is precise, each facial expression measured. The vulnerability is onstage for all to see, insecurities and all. Polunin’s outstanding creation allows an audience to recognise their own hang-ups and neuroses in cartoonish form freeing them to let go and immerse themselves in the childlike joy that so often gets buried in everyday life.
It’s easy to over-philosophise, but when all is said and done, this is the closest you’ll get to pure magic in the theatre. It’s rare to see a room of adults and children equally sparkly eyed and giddy with joy. As the snow falls and the rain sprinkles, it feels like each flake and drop is infused with wonder, magic and a sense that, for one night at least, magic might just be real. Even when you step back out into the greyer world outside the theatre, you take a little bit of that wonder with you. A life-affirming and heartachingly joyful performance that makes life feel that little bit more magical.
Runs until Sunday 29 October 2017 | Image: Contributed