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The Snow Gorilla, Rose Theatre Kingston – Review

Pros: The African acrobats were really entertaining and I felt like their original style breathed life into an age old circus art. The music that accompanied their performance made for a fantastic atmosphere, and the costumes were particularly snazzy!

Cons: During a couple of musical numbers I couldn’t hear some of the lyrics due to volume variances, but this was a slight problem and has probably already been remedied. Otherwise the sound and music delivery were flawless.

Pros: The African acrobats were really entertaining and I felt like their original style breathed life into an age old circus art. The music that accompanied their performance made for a fantastic atmosphere, and the costumes were particularly snazzy! Cons: During a couple of musical numbers I couldn’t hear some of the lyrics due to volume variances, but this was a slight problem and has probably already been remedied. Otherwise the sound and music delivery were flawless. Do not be misled as I was by the title The Snow Gorilla; this show is about so much more than .…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

The Snow Gorilla describes itself as ‘A Family Christmas Spectacular’ and that is exactly what it is. A combination of circus, theatre, dance, musical and pantomime all rolled into one, this show is a perfect night out for the festive season! Or any season!

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Do not be misled as I was by the title The Snow Gorilla; this show is about so much more than . . . snow, and . . . gorillas! It is full of surprises, and each one enjoyable in its own and very different way. If you like variety, singing, dancing, a sweet story and live music, then this is the show for you.

This Cirque du Soleil-style spectacular tells the story of Sunny, a young orphan who runs away to the circus in hope of a better life. He finds himself at Circus Marigny, a once-thriving travelling company which is now struggling to compete with other troupes and failing to pay their performers. Their financial trouble is compounded by a mysterious thief, and Circus owner Fanny is working the artists hard in order to up their game. The audience has a front row seat as the performers practice their acts, thus when you go to see The Snow Gorilla you get all the best bits of the circus (minus the smell). To my mind this was sophisticated storytelling because the individual acts did not interfere with the story, in fact they were woven into the tale and enhanced our enjoyment of it.

The story follows a fairy tale structure which I really enjoyed as it provided the same light-hearted escapism that pantomime does. During the winter, when it’s cold and I’m spending hard-earned money on thermal underwear, I want something that warms from the inside out as well as from the outside in – and this show does that. Sunny falls for Fanny’s daughter Chloe and befriends the talking Snow Gorilla. Together they unmask the black-cloaked thief and I assume that they all live happily ever after (yay!).

As Sunny’s adventure plays out, the snappy dialogue is interspersed with jokes, acrobats, Spanish Flamenco dancers, clowning, jugglers, magic, contortionists and aerialists! The songs were well written and the voices of Chloe (Lucy Hope-Borne), Fanny (Joanne Heywood) and Sunny (Ciaran Joyce) were lovely to listen to – really polished and the standard you’d expect from a London show. The Snow Gorilla (voiced by Brian Blessed) was gorgeously large and realistic; I loved the way he moved across the stage like a real ape. Obviously I wanted to go and have a big fake-Gorilla hug but it seemed inappropriate what with the performance still running, and me not being a child, and everything else.

Because of the show’s variety, you don’t get a chance to feel bored. For those who have been put off by my use of the word ‘pantomime’, don’t be; the dialogue is smarter and cleaner than your average panto, so there are no awkward moments following bawdy jokes. This is an an utterly sophisticated production suitable for both young children, and young professionals like me! The Rose Kingston was a pleasure to visit as always, and the seats were modern and comfortable. Go to see this show and I promise you will sit comfortably in a thoroughly entertaining alternate reality.

Authors: Tudor Davies and Steven Bor
Director: Roger Kannah
Box Office: 08444 821 556
Booking Link: http://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/
Booking Until: 5th January 2014

About Charlotte L Rose

Charlotte L Rose
Charlotte loves the theatre and hopes to make money out of it one day, after losing so much to the stalls over the years. Adores Chekhov and abhors Pinter. If you want to find out more then buy her a flat white.