I saw Slava’s Snowshow last year and thought it was the best thing evaaargh. I was eager to go back again, this time with Nyki and The Child Olivia.
What I didn’t know until too late to sort anything out was that Saturday the 10th was also the occasion of Birmingham’s Christmas-Lights-Switching-On festivities, outside Millennium Point, with fairground rides and a big stage with lots of acts playing. We could have made a day of it. Ah well.
I arrived a little while before I needed to be there to go and have a bit of a look, and as well as the organised stuff I found the usual ‘free public event’ accoutrements of people selling illuminous plastic crap, and people steadfastly refusing to have any awareness of their position or physical presence. Why shouldn’t they step directly in front of someone/barge past them when the general crowd around is too dense to give anyone actually paying attention a chance to get out of their ignorant-arsed way? It’s their night out, damnit. Why should they have to have even the slightest whit of consideration for everyone else around them?
Aaaand… breathe. I wasn’t there long, but had enough time to see the three-song set by an duo called Booty Luv (either, in traditional fashion, the best or worst name for a band ever). I hadn’t heard of them before, but then I’m extremely out of touch of late. It turns out that A) they’re famous; and B) they’re both ex-members of Big Brovaz, who are still going too. Whodathunkit. Chart-house with r’n’b-ish vocals, anyway, nothing amazing but listenable-ish when you’re on the spot and with nothing better to do. Come their third song I realised that they’re the ones that do that cover of Tweet’s “Boogie Tonight” that floats around in the ether. The things you can learn.
Time to move on dawned, and I headed back in the general direction of The Hippodrome to meet Nyk’n’Liv. The Snowshow was the same as last year, but I can’t say that’s a bad thing in any way. Don’t go thinking of circuses when you hear the word ‘clown’ (what was that Hank Hill quote? “A circus clown is just a carny who’s too stupid to operate the on/off switch on the rides”?); these are not even close to being the same thing. It’s hard to really describe very much of it without spoiling any, but its full of not just slapstick but also lots of very clever visual jokes. The clown who can’t figure out how to fold his arms is great, as is the shark (I’d completely forgotten that from the previous year!). The finale of the main stageshow is jaw-dropping, before everyone in the theatre gets to join in the playtime.
It was interesting to have a child there. She loved it, but didn’t laugh as much as I expected – a lot of the time she regarded it all with a look of concentration on her mush. There’s clearly some internal logic at play, which children get and thus see the whole entity as something to ponder rather than just guffaw at.
The fact that she was insistent that their big hats were made of bacon was sweet (if bizarre).
The fact that apparently now she keeps drawing pictures of clowns is priceless.