It is rare that when attending a review of either a theatrical performance or a concert that you hear such a murmur of expectation and excitement prior to a show. Yet that was the case before the lights dimmed at Wales Millennium Centre on Tuesday evening. The anticipation for Slava’s Snow Show – a world famous theatrical classic of organised chaos – from adults and children alike was almost electrifying.
As the lights came on and Slava Polunin stepped on to the stage in an oversized yellow clown outfit allowing his form to shift and change with animated fashion. It soon became apparent why this theatrical production has gained popularity with adults and children around the world.
Taking snapshots of comedy inspiration from Marcelle Marceau and Charlie Chaplin, the humour, sketches and stories are all stitched together by the universal language of mime.
Slava and his team of floppy hatted, green coated clowns are clowns in the classical friendly, funny and cheeky tradition. The production itself is a return to innocence. Childlike dreams unravelling on stage as a bed becomes a sailing boat, set against a backdrop of an armada of ships.
Each mini story or sketch, like in all good comedy, is open to interpretation. The imagination is constantly teased and surprised, even when a somewhat innocentroutine involving Slavagetting his broom handle caught in a cobweb unravels into the ultimate in audience participation at the end of the first half of the show.
The action doesn’t stop in the intermission. Some of the clowns have remained in the auditorium and continue to have fun amongst the audience that have remained seated. The clowns are almost cartoon-like to a point and when the smallest one shadows Slava’s actions in the second half of the show, he is quickly removed from the stage by the tallest clown in a style akin to a Looney Tunes cartoon.
The show continues, showing Slava’s ingenious ability to make inanimate objects such as a coat stand and two huge telephones take on their own persona’s.
Slava’s Snow Show concludes with a big snow scene – almost a glorious throwback to Chaplin’s Gold Rush, but in colour and totally in your face. That isn’t quite it,as Slava and his comedy clown’s return to take their bows, and unleash further colourful mayhem .
Like any good spoiler let’s leave that for the show. The biggest reveal is how Slava’s Snow show, a big hit for over quarter of a century, is how it will make you and your children feel.
Many people young and old were leaving the Millennium Centre looking wide eyed and illuminated as if they had experienced something magical and indeed, we all had. If you only get one theatrical experience this year let Slava’s Snow Show be it!
- Slava’s Snow Show continues at Wales Millennium Centre until October 21. Visit wmc.org.uk for ticket details.