It’s the cleaners I feel sorry for.
Imagine your worst nightmare at home, you turn your back on your kids for just five minutes and find they have completely trashed your house, and are now throwing the debris around!
Well the Theatre Royal was like that tonight, but much, much worse.
There were plenty of those hyper-lively kids about – all ages from 5 to 85. In fact the older ones were definitely the worst. Even when we took our seats there was paper litter everywhere, some smoke wafting down from who knows where and the music player seemed to have a mind of its own.
If you are going to mess about, you might as well do it on an epic scale, and we had a whole theatre to play in!
Slava’s Snow Show has been packing theatres for years, and it is not hard to see why. This show has no script, no plot but plenty of action, and an adorable cast of characters. A right bunch of clowns. No really, they all are. Except one possibly, but she was on a swing and had a very long silver nose, so hard to tell really.
This is a show that can trace its roots back to Russian puppet shows and children’s tv, with characters who seem immediately familiar.
The characters are clowns, but they move like puppets. They come in a wide assortment of sizes and shapes, but all look as though they were invented by someone on too much acid in Moominland. They move around each other with intricate, delicate steps and gestures, and flick between pals and pranksters seemingly at random.
And it snows. Quite a lot, for most of the show. If it isn’t snowing, then something else is coming at you!
For young kids, this show is great fun. They don’t ask why, they just enjoy the mayhem, but they are also touched by the pathos of the on stage relationships. The tears of the clown. The costumes are wonderful, not scary but like the clowns you loved years ago, not the modern horrors. They also love watching the bigger kids (hello Mum, hello Dad) misbehaving and throwing stuff around and… well that would be telling!
One clown, in yellow, is on stage almost throughout the show and gives many poignant little vignettes. The others, all in a similar green outfit, pop in and out of the action with varying levels of mischief. The yellow clown is the image of Slava Polunin, the creator of this world famous show. A friendly, shuffling old bearded man with a surprisingly deft line of movement. He has created a truly international show, with no recognisable language. There are words, but I suspect that Pingu was the dialect coach here.
The music to which these vignettes are set includes some firm favourites, from Chariots of Fire by Vangelis, through Peter Gunn and Mas Que Nada to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It is not a quiet event. These familiar tunes perhaps help us to deal with an unique theatrical experience that engages more of our senses than we would normally expect.
At some point in the second half of the show there is a curtain call, bows and applause. But this is not the end of the fun. Stay in your seats for the craziest part of the whole mad evening!
Finally, we escape into the night, grinning like naughty kids who have just escaped a right telling off. I am very tempted to go again tomorrow. I would, but I just worry about those poor cleaners at the theatre. If you know one, say thanks from me!
© Julian Swainson 2017
Slava’s Snow Show – Tuesday November 21-25, 2017. Eves 7.30pm, Mats 2.30pm Thur & Sat. Tickets £8-£31.50. Discounts for Friends, Over 60s, Under 18s, Schools & Groups. BOX OFFICE 01603 630000. For more info or to BOOK ONLINE www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk