Slava Polunin in Slava's Snowshow

Review of Slava's Snowshow on Broadway

Holli Harms
Holli Harms

You see, it's like this: Slava Polunin is back in New York and you MUST see him.

Slava's Snowshow needs to be on the top of your holiday list of shows. It will remind you about the beauty of our world. About simple acts of love and kindness. It is the epitome of empathy, vulnerability, and childlike wonderment. The clown, the pantomime, is unsurpassable in their ability to surprise through what can only be described as magic in expressing the musicality of life, the beautiful singular moments in the everyday.

I have seen this show in different incantations through the years and never ever tire of the magic and the snow that pours off that stage. I know this doesn't make much sense and may be hard to grasp, but the simplicity defies understanding that it can create such innocence of wonder in each member of the audience (and in me again and again and again). It is like nothing you've seen. It's unexpected moments in unexpected moments. With a parade of clowns, we will go sailing, dancing, and find ourselves part of the soundtrack to the evening.

Slava says that "The two main forces of the circus are surprise and admiration." He says, "I love life. I love people." All that encapsulates Slava's SnowShow. He, the world-renowned clown and avant-garde performer, has come back to us bringing his gift just in time for the holidays. You will walk out feeling good, hopeful, glad that there are beings on this planet of ours like Slava who create such captivating enchantment.

Creativity and harmony are his constant companions and he shares them with everyone he can. His home, Le Moulin Jaune outside of Paris, he opens several times a year to guests to have them join in the fun of Slava and his Academy of Fools. But you need not go to France to enjoy his fantastical world; it is right here on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

With 12 performers switching roles, you don't know which performer you will see in which role the night you attend, but whomever, trust they will be splendid. And FYI If you are in the orchestra you will be part of the interaction that is Slava. It is gentle, and silly having adults and children all laughing, giggling. It is community like no other. But if that is not your thing sit up in the mezzanine and enjoy the party below. Both places are good to be. And know in the end even the mezzanine gets to play. And in the end, stand up if you dare. Go and find out what I mean.

(Photo by Vladimir Mishukov​)

"A note to the clown-averse, who are legion, and to those who shudder at the thought of an interactive experience like Slava's Snowshow, which opened on Thursday night at the Stephen Sondheim Theater: I did not expect to like it, let alone love it, as I did. Eons ago, when I saw Slava's Snowshow Off Broadway at the Union Square Theater, I bristled all the way through. I even hated the famous blizzard at the end. Now I don't know what I could have been thinking. By the finish of Wednesday night's preview performance, I was as relaxed as if I'd just had a massage — though a massage doesn't, generally speaking, blast paper-confetti snow down your top that you'll have to scoop out later. (Wardrobe tip: A turtleneck might be a good choice.)."
Laura Collins-Hughes for New York Times

"A preshow advisory would do well to insist that patrons must love clowns. How else to enjoy 100 minutes of vaguely amusing pantomime on a set that toes a fine line between crafty and cheap? Being under the age of 12 may help; the production might also pair well with milder psychedelics. But if you can embrace the logic of nonsense and surrender your personal boundaries to the spirit of the season, you may find this blizzard a blast."
Naveen Kumar for Time Out New York


Originally published on

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