Friday, April 16, 2004

Estonian Week continues.

Richard, Bob and I got comp tickets last night to Slava's Snow Show, which was billed in its advertising as a Cirque du Soleil knockoff -- with images of flying people in bizarre costumes playing around fanciful set pieces.

But the advertising lied. The show was nothing but clowns. And mimes. Nobody flew, nobody exhibited feats of physical prowess ... and nobody showed any well-muscled body parts.

Once our initial disappointment wore off, though, we kind of liked the show. The sets and costumes were as fanciful and colorful and enchanting as those I remember from the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. The clowning (though officially NOT my thing) was cute and engaging -- and the audience ate it up. (There was one boy in particular sitting in front of us with a belly laugh as hearty and joyful as my nephew's.) And the music they used covered everything from "Chariots of Fire" to "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.

The Carmina Burana section, in fact, was the coolest part of the show -- as the set walls disappeared, a bank of blinding lights glared out at the audience and a literal mountain of fog and confetti blew over us as Orff's magnificent score pumped louder and louder through the house. It was a pretty spectacular ending, topped only by the massive (as in 10 to 30 feet in diameter) air-filled balls that followed, rolling off the stage toward us and being bounced around by the audience.

Honorable mention goes to the bathrooms in the historic Chicago Theatre. I'd never been downstairs of that lobby before, and the basement lounge area outside the bathrooms is filled with totally cool columns and flying buttresses and frescoes -- it makes me want to chug a TON of water before I see my next show there.

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