While your Facebook and Twitter friends have no doubt started the dreaded countdown to Christmas, a subject you most people try to avoid like the plague until at least the 23rd of December, spare a thought for your choice of Christmas show this year.
While everyone loves a panto, cue the ‘oh no we don’ts!’, there is a show coming back to the Southbank Centre which I would implore people to beg, borrow or steal (and by steal I mean purchase from a reputable ticket outlet) a ticket to get to see.
The show I am referring to is Slava’s Snowshow. The show itself has been on tour for a number of years now and visits many different countries throughout the year. I saw it a couple of years ago when I was lucky enough to secure a top price ticket at a discount. My seat was slap bang in the centre of the stalls and I was in a prime location to experience the full effect of the show. I highly recommend booking these seats!
Without wanting to give away too much about the show or provide any form of spoiler, what Slava's Snowshow makes use of – as is evident by the publicity images – is the noble art of clowning. While the very idea of clowns often puts people off, don’t let this be the case here. There are no custard pies, cars with doors falling off and the like, but what there is is a mastery of physicality and facial expressions to tell a story through non-verbal communication. Simple objects such as a hat stand, a phone or a cobweb can be utilized and manipulated into beautiful sequences, underscored by music to heighten the particular emotion of the scene and tell a story.
Fun and play are themes which run throughout this piece, even the interval is peppered with mayhem and mirth where the audience and characters are able to interact. The audience experience is important to this show and this is demonstrated by the ending. The final event of the show seemed to go on as long as the audience wanted, giving them time to enjoy it and not feel cheated or short changed. It is allowed to come to a natural conclusion. Even after the show, the actors stayed in the auditorium allowing the audience to take photos of or with them which again enhanced the audience’s experience.
One of the reasons that I loved this particular Christmas show and everything it did was I was sat next to a girl of about five years of age who had autism. What really made the show was seeing the look on her face, the joy and wonder at the different events in the show, the clowning, the magic, the interaction were all met with enthusiasm and delight from this girl. To see her reaction highlights what makes theatre special and the importance of taking young children to see live performances.
To ensure your place make sure you book your Slava's Snowshow tickets early. The show only runs from December 17th to January 5th. No matter what age you are, you will be sure to enjoy the adventure with Slava and will be guaranteed snow at Christmas.
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