WATCHING eight clowns in giant shoes, long overcoats and sporting bright red noses taking silliness to a whole new level has to be one of the best spectacles of the year.
For those who haven't seen Slava's Snowshow, I urge you to go. The show, which has been wowing audiences around the world for the past 20 years, is a terrific assault on the senses and is currently enjoying a fourth season at the Southbank Centre.
Blending wit, music and clever tricks, the group of eight clowns spend 90 minutes making the audience laugh and gasp in equal measure.
Set to a beautiful soundtrack which mixes a whole range of musical styles from pop to classical, the clowns glide, walk, crawl and dance their way through a variety of routines and tricks.
They also come into the crowd, spraying water, climbing over seats, sitting on peoples' laps, taking peoples' bags or coats and throwing them elsewhere in to the auditorium.
At one point a character appears at the side of the stage and sees something white. He pulls at it and a balletic series of moves later he is completely tangled up in what looks like a white cobweb.
Another of his friends comes out and between them they stretch the cobweb so it envelopes the entire audience - even those right at the back get tangled up in it.
Then there is a marvellous scene in which two of them are on a boat and how they negotiate a storm is priceless - and gets funnier when one of the clowns slides on to the stage on a skateboard with a shark's fin attached to his back.
There are bubbles and a giant snowstorm made out of a billion pieces of paper which get blown into the audience and one gorgeous routine in which one of the clowns makes friends with a hat stand.
Finally the climax of the balloons, of all different colours and sizes, which get pushed into the audience and which have everyone on their feet.
Beautifully choreographed and crafted it is a fabulous show. There is no narrative and no words, but there don't need to be. It's silly, funny, breathtaking, exciting, mesmerising and uplifting - a treat from start to finish.
Slava's Snowshow is on at the Royal Festival Hall until Monday, January 5. Tickets cost from £20 Visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk or call the box office on 020 7960 4200.