Review: Blizzard by Flip Fabrique at Assembly Hall

Blizzard opens with a warning that the adverse weather conditions may mean limited visibility, to the extent that we may not believe our eyes. Halfway through the show, a small child wonders up to the stage with the same awestruck look that most of the crowd have been wearing for the past half hour, suggesting they may be right.

Taking their inspiration from the harsh conditions of their homeland, this production by Canadian company Flip Fabrique brings all the magic of a snow day to young and old alike. The staging of this production is particularly ingenious. A large cube first emits dry ice to evoke the arctic temperatures on this August day, before being turned into a real-life snow globe, housing a pianist who governs the tempo of the piece. His music lends grace to the acrobatics and a music-hall element to the clowning. 

Interspersed throughout are weather warnings from the Canadian Ministry of ‘winter and all things brrrrrr.’ These interludes give an excuse for some clowning in between the elegant acrobatics. From snowball fights, licking the ice and getting dressed in your winter wear, each of these situations is creatively used to comic effect. There is one section that falls a little flat; a discombobulating dream sequence where the clown dresses up as a hula dancer.

It’s the poetic aerial acrobatics that gives you goosebumps, but like all good snow days, this is balanced by the warmth of the company working together as a whole to develop a cosy warm atmosphere. Their efforts were rewarded, as a standing ovation ripples round the crowd. Who needs snow? Have a day off and take in this gorgeous show.

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