Review: Slava’s Snow Show - a treat for the senses
PUBLISHED: 14:55 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:24 29 November 2017
Wow. I am not clowning around when I say I am not quite sure where to begin, other than what a strange and surreal show landed at the Bristol Hippodrome last night.
It is not often my nine-year-old son and me remain silent for an hour, but mouths agog, we stared in both confusion and wonder at the performance unfolding in front of us.
The multi-award-winning international Slava’s Snow Show was quite simply, sublime. I deliberately avoided reading any pre-show information and reviews so that I would get the full element of surprise. And boy was I surprised. The entire show, billed as ‘a combination of theatrical clowning and stunning visual spectacle’, is played out under the unexpected genre of mime, but as it all unfurls in slow motion around the audience, you can’t help but be both mesmerised and enthralled at the same time.
I can’t help but think the show’s creator Slava Polunin must have been under the influence of something more than a dram of eggnog when he wrote it! Through mime, and mime alone, the audience gets drawn into a yellow clown’s strange world, with the audience left intrigued as to who, or what he is. The pace is slow initially but soon picks up and starts to move along nicely, drawing you in further and before long you realise you are both totally gripped and strangely intrigued at the same time. The audience begins to feel empathy for the clown, although you are not entirely sure why. Then some green clowns join the party, bringing humour and depth to the show, adding more unexplained layers of mystery and hilarity. Each clown’s performance is intricate, with perfect comic timing and the still-life balancing and poise of them interacting with each other is highly-skilled and brilliantly clever. You can see every facial expression and are able to interpret their thought patterns from the very back of the auditorium. The first half ends with everyone reaching for the sky in wonder, excitement, laughter and bemusement.
There was a real buzz in the theatre lobby while the audience caught their breath during the interval with everyone talking about what they had just experienced. Seasoned theatre-goers were overheard discussing what they had just seen but no-one could explain exactly why they were left wanting more.
When heading back to our seats for the second half we found the actors were in amongst the crowd at the front goofing around making us think we are late. But no, it is all part of the interactive, all-immersing show.
If it was at all possible, the second half got even weirder! One scene, that both of us tired of, had some children in absolute hysterics. Then things seemed to take a dark turn, leaving you in confusion but still mesmerised. The finale, when it comes, is awesome and all-encompassing with everybody on their feet and staring around the whole auditorium in wonder and delight. Then there is snow - everywhere. You are left with it in your pockets, in your hair, everywhere!
At this point my son, completely out of the blue, ran to the stage along with other children and adults alike and returned moments later, jumping with joy and excitement. There are balls everywhere - giant balls, small balls, red balls, blue balls. All floating and bouncing in the air above our heads, filling the room. I’ve never seen a spectacle like it and no-one wanted to leave. Was the show over? People were starting to depart but others were still revelling in the atmosphere and laughing. After speaking to an usher I found out it had finished but people like to linger to play and interact with the clowns. Wow.
It was the best atmosphere ever. There is such an energy to the show which captivates you and leaves you feeling at peace with the world.
I would most definitely recommend it as a stunning, visual, and four-dimensional masterpiece which is extremely clever, reaching out to the audience and pulling people in.
My son’s verdict? “Nine out of 10 - it was amazing!” he said and I wholeheartedly agree!
Tickets for Slava’s Snow Show, which runs until Saturday, are priced £14-39.50. They are available from 08448 717627 or online at www.atgtickets.com/shows