Snow show clowns bring flurry of laughter

The clowns of Slava's Snowshow are bringing a blizzard to the stage in Melbourne this summer.

"It's Christmas here and you get no snow, so we are happy to bring it," Vanya Polunin told AAP at a preview on Thursday.

"We brought a few hundred kilograms of snow to Honolulu once, we even take snow to Siberia, nothing is too weird for us," he said.

The centrepiece of the show is indeed an incredible snowstorm, which has been blowing to stages around the world since it was created by Russian clown and performance artist Slava Polunin in 1993.

His son Vanya has been performing with him since he was seven years old, with brother Dmitry Ushakov also working backstage.

The family has over the years played to a combined audience of more than 10 million in more that 225 cities worldwide, including a two-year run in New York.

Vanya said he still finds inspiration in the production, because it is timeless and brings audiences some much-needed laughter.

"The world needs laughter all the time, uplifting the soul is always needed, especially now," he said.

His father came from the Oryol district south of Moscow where temperatures hover around -10C in winter, and the clowns play out scenes inspired by his childhood.

"There was joy in the winter playing with the snow, and there was the loneliness, coldness, storms, so it is a combination of all the different feelings," Vanya said.

When not bringing snow to Melbourne he is based outside Paris, and his fellow clowns come from all over the world - the US and Canada to Ukraine, Italy and Zimbabwe.

A complete lack of dialogue and reliance on relatable human emotions in the show means audiences understand it - and get the jokes - regardless of what language they speak.

Vanya recently took on the role of lead clown after decades believing he wasn't ready for the job, and in his oversized yellow costume, red wig and scarf, said it's a role he finds scary but also gratifying.

"It's a pleasure when you see all the smiles and the amount of joy you give to the audience, there is nothing like it," he said.

The cast won't reveal anything about the staging of the famous snowstorm, which leaves massive flurries of confetti around the theatre - not even how long the fake snow takes to sweep away.

"Why clean up?" Vanya shrugs.

Slava's Snowshow is on at the Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, December 29 to January 8.