Slava’s Snowshow brings icy entertainment


Daniella Parcell, News Editor

At first thought, the idea of a wordless clown show sounds either boring, childish or absolutely terrifying. Slava’s Snowshow, however, manages to bring hilarious entertainment and unearthly special effects to a show that features clowns, confetti and overly-inflated beach balls.

Created in 1993 by Russian clown Slava Polunin, Slava’s Snowshow opened at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 17. The show follows a loose storyline of an older clown living in Russia, accompanied by a troop of five floppy-eared clowns who, despite their playful natures, travel through dimly lit settings and often appear more solemn than jovial. Through their dark journeys, the clowns encounter issues with wild weather and unlucky sailing, all while abstaining from speech, sometimes even turning to kazoos for communication.

With a stunning range of special effects, the experience brought awe to the stage while also incorporating the audience in the action. The end of the first act featured a massive sheet of threaded cotton, meant to imitate snow, being pulled from the ceiling by clowns and over the audience’s heads; this display finished with a floating candle with a banner that read “intermission.” Most spectacular of all, the show concluded with a ferocious blizzard, created by a continuous blast of snow-white confetti, streams of air and layers of eerie fog, that nearly blinded viewers in the front rows.

Whether onstage or in the crowd, each clown lived up to its silly stereotype while still bringing a dark element to the production. People who choose to sit in the front should pack a parka and forget all preferences for personal space, as clowns used people as stepping stones, chairs as bridges and water bottles as methods of self-defense. Though seemingly irritating, these antics brought a child-like and lively aspect to the performance, despite the arrows sticking through the hearts of certain characters.

In a sinister yet playful way, the clowns of Slava’s Snowshow brought an interactive performance of delight, wonder and fulfillment. The show plays at the Dr. Phillips Center until Sunday, March 1 with tickets starting at $39.