Creator and Director: Slava Polunin
Reviewer: Victoria Bawtree
This show is both quirky and a full-on spectacle. If the masses at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury are anything to go by, it also draws an audience from all generations, all equally mesmerised by a small group of misfit clowns, under the direction of Russian performance artist, Slava Polunin.
If you need convincing about the place of clowns in the theatre, then this show should do it. It combines moments of stillness – beautifully precision-lit – with moments of slapstick: not full-on slapstick as the traditional circus clown might have us endure, but little gems of beautifully timed movements and subtle facial expressions. Similarly, there is audience participation, but one is subtly drawn in, rather than duty bound to play along.
From the outset, movement is synchronised with an eclectic soundtrack, from quiet minimalism to full-blown Carmina burana accompanying the now legendary snowstorm as the show’s epic finale. The exaggerated and surreal costumes are also used to full effect. The scenery provides a dark backdrop to the minimal use of brightly coloured props. This contrast between dark and light is used throughout the show, aided by cleverly designed lighting. Similarly, moments of calm and stillness are hijacked by hilarious and surreal twists.
There is no programme to heap plaudits on the actors and designers by name, and there is no real storyline to describe. What there is, however, is a complete sensory as well as theatrical experience that will captivate all age groups. Ready yourself for some chaos and mayhem certainly, but more importantly, be prepared to let your imagination go. Suspend reality and immerse yourself in the experience. You may come away slightly bewildered, but hopefully with a warm inner glow.
Runs until 12 October 2013 and continues to tour