Review of "Slava's SnowShow"

The finale of "Slava's SnowShow," now at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts through August 25. (Veronique Vial / August 7, 2013)

For such a big show, much of the charm of “Slava’s SnowShow” now at Miami’s Arsht Center is in the smallest of moments.

This grand spectacle -- gi-normous spider webs that span the entire orchestra level or the white-out of a snowstorm that hits the audience like Gallagher’s smash-act on steroids -- can’t even begin to obscure the fact that this is a show filled with nuance; raised eyebrow here, tiny stutter-steps there, mischievous looks everywhere.

Now, if you are of the opinion that there are few things on this mortal plane more annoying than a mime (I’m not saying I agree with you … but I’m willing to entertain arguments) then “Slava’s SnowShow” just might convince you otherwise.

For 90 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission, the show is a series of comic bits, some surreal, others just strange. But all of them wildly imaginative.


Photos: Models on the catwalk of Miami Swim Week

The “star” is Yellow Clown. No longer played by Slava Polunin, opening night featured Artem Shimo in the role. Other performances will have Slava’s son Vanya Polunin playing the part (and 8-year-old granddaughter Mia making a pop-up cameo). In many of the set pieces the Yellow Clown is aggravated by the Green Clowns, galumphing beings in big overcoats and hats with flaps like beagle ears.

The stories may be small, but the emotions are played as big as a circus and as broad as vaudeville (many of the moves would be at home in Poconos resorts). For example, just a walk across the stage by two characters took close to 10 minutes as the duo played comic one-upsmanship with their colossal clown shoes and milking every laugh possible out of the skit.

There are visuals that stick in your mind for days: a tsunami of bubbles; a clown pierced with more arrows than Saint Sebastian and – in one of the more beautifully realized pieces – a brass bed re-imagined as a ship on the high seas. A melodramatic goodbye in a train station played as a romantic couple with only the Yellow Clown and a coat rack is so brilliant it takes your breath away.

The show has the feel of children playing just before bedtime. The quilted panels with crescent moons and stars that form what there is of a stage set reinforce that motif and the inescapable notion that this is the stuff of which dreams are made.

“Slava’s SnowShow” runs through Aug. 25 at the Adrienne Arsht Center For the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays (7 p.m. Sundays) with 2 p.m. matinees Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets $25 to $75. Call 877-949-6722 or go to ArshtCenter.org.