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This clown show is a totally magical Southbank Centre festive tradition
'Slava's Snowshow' returns over Christmas in 2017. This review is of the show's 2014 run.
Some people are wary of Christmas for good reason. Others – and this camp could really do us all a favour by giving themselves a stern talking to – bemoan things like 'the fuss' and 'those pesky pine needles that fall off the tree'.
Well, even these embattled souls – as well as those more traditionally ga-ga for festive frippery – would find it difficult to withstand the full-bore Beckettian lunacy of 'Slava's Snow Show', an experience that doesn't as much blow away the Christmas cobwebs as blast them into cold, deathless oblivion.
There are such familiar festive entertainments as balloons, clowns, snow, bubbles, but this is as far away from normal, practiced hogwash of childhoods yore as is imaginable. Bridled anarchy holds sway at every turn, and yet proceedings never trip over into silliness, indulgence or mindless mugging.
Leading the line is veteran Russian performance artist Slava Poulin, whose quieter moments gives the show a precious respite in which to gather its energy for the next assault of roaming clowns, blaring opera music or – for the rambunctious, rapturous finale – a swirling, blinding blizzard of joyous, unconfined chaos.
A blast. In every sense.
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Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London