"Mummy, I'm scared, I don't like clowns," a little girl who looked about five whispered to her mother next to me, clutching the arms of her seat tightly.
"I know exactly how you feel," my two-decades-older mind screamed in reply, conditioned as it was by horror movies like I.T to see all clowns as vicious monsters with red slashes for mouths.
But by the middle of Slava's Snow Show, both of us were alternately laughing so hard that our seats shook or gazing at the stage in simple wonder and anticipation, all primal fears of creepy clowns forgotten in the whimsical circus of Slava's imaginary world.
Conceptualised by an ex-Cirque Du Soleil troupe member, the show follows the shenanigans of Slava and his band of marauding, hat-wearing clowns as they stomp, shuffle, float, and dream their way through crazy landscapes: stormy seas, a spider's web, and a bubble-filled utopia, among others.
To great effect, no verbal dialogue and minimal props are used during the show thanks to the rubber-faced talents of the cast.
Warm, soft lighting and tinkling music, for example, paired with billowing clouds of rainbow-coloured soap bubbles, transformed the plain stage into a setting of simple beauty.
I found myself living vicariously through Slava as he wove through his fantasies — gasping at his transformation into a train complete with smoke billowing from his top hat, and laughing out loud when he conducted a very dramatic two-way telephone conversation between a flirtatious woman and a chauvinistic man.
Besides a sense of wonder, feel-good humour and the usual slapstick, Slava also infuses his performance with a strong sense of poignancy. When he gets on a train and leaves his loved one (a coat on a clothes-tree) behind, the complete misery on his face and the slump in his shoulders elicited actual sounds of comfort from an enthralled audience.
The show is also high on interaction. Stay during the interval for some good old clowning around, and don't be surprised to find yourself on stage with the cast, chasing them through billowing curtains or handing your bag over to get back a shoe bodily removed from you.
We also found ourselves fumbling our way through a sticky web after Slava accidentally disturbs a giant spider's nest, sending strands of sticky unspun cotton down on the audience from above and prompting shrieks of delight from children and adults alike.
Stay for the stunning finale and the clowns' after-party, which concluded the two-hour show on a real high. We don't want to spoil things, but don't be surprised to find yourself ankle deep in "snow".
Also, join in the fun as a rainbow of huge balloons and balls transform the theatre into an up-sized playground.
At the end, for the first time, there were no kiasu Singaporeans gathering at the exits and ready to leave as all the adults who were given a chance to be children again were too busy having fun in the wonderful experience that is Slava's Snow Show.
Brought in by Base Entertainment, Slava's Snow Show will be playing at Marina Bay Sands Theatre from 28 August to 9 September 2012. Tickets are priced from $65 to $150 and are available via Sistic.