Hey, let us rejoice, for Slava‘s back in town. Slava’s Snowshow is an experience. I could point you to websites and YouTube for a taste but really nothing can prepare you for it. This was the third time we’ve been enchanted and though the essentials of the show and its routines haven’t changed much over the years (2007 was the last time in MK) the freshness, the gentle surprise of knowing, of original recognition, is still there, along with an affectionate remembrance of the, well, let us call them, revelations – the warmth (hah! –see later) and wonder is maintained. Along with the excitement, the fun, the foreboding, the physical shocks to the system. And some tremendous and varied music at volume. Once you’ve heard the Peter Gunn Theme played that loud something happens physiologically.
There’s a buzz as the audience takes its seats, a steady soundtrack of steam trains in constant motion – crossing the Russian Steppes? – builds expectation. Then there’s the dry ice, flooding out into the stalls; may sound corny but, no – go with the flow. It’s basically a clown show – face makeup and costumes and all, but with an indefinable cartoon twist to Slava’s cohorts. It’s full of pathos, slow, deliberate, delicate subtle movement, delivered with immaculate ensemble timing (and from the guys in green and the hats, long clown shoes). A friend who had no idea what to expect mentioned, almost at the start, Waiting for Godot, and yes, she was not wrong, though in an interview Slava Polunin has said he’s a great fan but would like to think he’s the “counter-Beckett”. He also mentions Charlie Chaplin (captivated age 10), Buster Keaton, mime, pantomime, folk art and commedia dell arte, but also Artaud, and, interestingly, choreographer Pina Bausch (who I’ve raved about elsewhere in this blog).