Review Clown Slava takes audience out of this world
IN the space of two short hours we were ensnared by a giant spider's web, showered by water, shrouded in mist, deluged by giant snowflakes in a blizzard and bombarded by giant bouncing balloons.
And in between we had experienced a superb demonstration of the ages-old art of clowning.
When you stepped inside the Hippodrome auditorium from the traffic-jammed city centre outside you entered another, snow-strewn world. A world inhabited by Slava, the creator of this amazing mayhem, and his clown comrades.
It all looked so simple and that was the intriguing bit because, from the moment that first downtrodden diminutive clown shuffled on stage this show hooked you into a weird and wacky world, a place where no real language is spoken, yet communication, courtesy of facial expressions and body posture, tells you all you need to know.
There is sound and music, lots of it, used to great and dramatic effect, but it never overshadows the actions of the clowns themselves.
And what clowns they are. Most looked like a cross between those famous old music hall acts – all baggy clothing and great big feet – with curious headgear that made them look a bit like that cartoon character Deputy Dawg.
The great thing is that the characters are not constrained by the stage itself, often venturing down into the audience and, not just mingling, but climbing precariously over the seats into the depths of the stalls.
As the first half drew to a close we were covered – and I do mean covered – in a giant clinging web which "grew" out of the stage to cover us.
We'd been tipped off to be back in our seats early for the second half and it was good advice, because the clowns were mixing things up with us, soaking us and even carrying off a member of the audience to feature in one of the scenes.
Now, all through the riveting performance there had been giant snowflakes. The theatre was covered in a layer of them on arrival and the clowns, at intervals, produced the odd smattering, or even a flurry.
But nothing, nothing, can prepare you for the awesome snow show that Slava Polunin, the Russian creator of this show, delivers. It leaves you gasping.
Before we got to the theatre my three grandkids, aged 14, seven and five, had asked me what we were going to see and I confessed to being unsure.
Even when, exhilarated, we emerged back into the real world after what was an incredible theatrical journey I am still unable to actually pigeonhole this show.
All I will say is that it made for an unforgettable slice of entertainment. And each and every one of us thought it sensational.
But don't just take my word for it. Go take a look for yourself. It's on until Sunday and I'll guarantee you won't have ever seen anything quite like it.