Slava's SnowshowPhotos - David Wyatt

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Slava’s Snowshow
is a spectacle in every sense of the word. The Athenaeum theatre is packed to the gills and there is a buzz of excited anticipation in the air. Even though the audience is mainly adults, there prevails a sense of child-like excitement, a reunion with pure joy, wonder and silliness.

Slava’s Snowshow has been travelling the world for over two decades presenting to millions its mix of clowning, visual and physical theatre. Created by Russian clown Slava Polunin, the show is infused with a Chaplin-esque physical style, utilising elements of slapstick and mime.

The clowns tumble and trip, transforming the space through the use of props. A bed becomes a boat, a hatstand becomes a lover engaged in a tender embrace. The physical skill and articulation of the clowning is astounding. These are very old jokes but we go along with the charade as there is an energy about the performance. The clowns are very charming and it’s hard not to get swept up in the sheer ridiculousness of the show.

And the audience is more than willing to engage in the non-narrative based theatre. Snowshow is more like a series of unconnected scenes than a coherent narrative driven piece. At times it possesses the slightly menacing feeling of a European circus, a story forsaken for an odd sideshow of transformative images.

Not that the audience minded the lack of narrative. But do be warned that there is a high level of audience participation and we were coated in water, smoke and paper respectively.

In terms of deeper theatrical exploration there is little on offer, instead strap yourself in for a purely sensory experience, culminating in the famous ‘snowshow’ itself.

Slava’s Snowshow requires a suspension of cynicism as well as disbelief. Try to view it through innocent eyes and you won’t be disappointed.


SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW

Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Dates: From 12 August, 2009
Times: Tuesday to Friday 8pm, Saturday 4pm & 8pm, Sunday 2pm & 6pm
Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au 1300 723 138 Athenaeum Theatre Box Office (03) 9650 1500 or any Ticketmaster outlet

Not recommended for children under 8 years.