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Theatre Review (Singapore): Slava’s Snowshow by Base Entertainment

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Base Entertainment’s latest offering is Slava’s Snowshow, playing at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre from the 28th of August to the 9th of September 2012.

Slava’s Snowshow, created by world-renowned Russian clown Slava Polunin, is a breath-taking spectacle of both traditional and contemporary theatrical clowning acts. It’s hard to describe the synopsis or storyline of this performance, as the show is made up of really peculiar images and jaw-dropping imagery and effects that resist description.

In a nutshell, the show creates a world of wonderment and fantasy that transports the audience to a joyous dream-like place, where a bed becomes a boat in a storm-tossed sea, a woman is wrapped in cellophane and becomes flowers in a vase, a child walks in amazement inside a bubble, 62-year-old Slava boards a train and then becomes the train himself with his chimney-pot hat billowing smoke, and a web of unspun cotton envelops the entire audience. The stunning finale sees a letter turn into snowflakes, and the flakes turn into a snowstorm, which whirls around the auditorium, leaving the audience ankle-deep in man-made paper snow. Finally, huge balls appear and the crowd frantically tries to hit them around the auditorium.

High on comedy and slapstick (sometimes a little repetitive though), resplendent with sets that seamlessly transform from grey walls to snow mountains, and with spectacular use of lights and effects, this show is very innovative and creative in portraying the scenes and involving the audience. Watch out for the clowns to return before intermission ends, teasing and mocking the audience to hilarious effect. These clowns certainly manage to prove to us that no one is too old to laugh at a clown’s antics. 

The show also has emotional scenes, such as Slava portraying a lonely clown seeking the company of a ghostly hat rack. Also, together with an ensemble of other clowns, Slava sometimes portrays a lonesome and often isolated clown, who’s set aside and picked on by the other clowns. As an underdog, with his red nose, frown, and over-sized red shoes, Slava has us in his hands from the start, rooting for him. The other clowns, while sometimes evil or mischievous, also have us cheering them on with their enticing foolery and humour.

Full of magic, bewilderment, poignancy, emotion, and artistic imagination, Slava’s Snowshow will leave you mesmerized, inspired, and uplifted. The tickets are priced very steeply, as events at Marina Bay Sands Theatre tend to be; however, if you’re yearning for a show that will take you out of the doldrums of life or away from the stresses of work, this is the show for you, as it brings out the child in all of us and lifts up the spirits of the entire audience.

In fact, by the end of the show as the massively huge balls came bouncing into the audience, everybody in the auditorium was laughing, hitting the balls, playing with the paper snow – and nobody wanted to leave the theatre! I guess clowns do that to us, don’t they? They make you forget you’re an adult for a moment, and you become a wide-eyed child again.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.