Circus shows in London
Underbelly Festival's final headliner for the summer is 'Rouge', a circus-cabaret night from Australia that mixes aerial hoop, fire-eating, and raunchy dancing galore.
This review is from Christmas 2018. ‘Circus 1903’ returns for Christmas 2019. We’re in a mini golden age of contemporary circus, with companies like Circa and Gandini Juggling injecting wit, ice-cool aesthetics and even (gasp!) feminism into a centuries-old genre. There’s none of that nonsense in this uber-trad homage to Barnum & Bailey-era,‘The Greatest Showman’-style spectacle. Yup, real elephants have been replaced by (rather overbilled) two giant puppets by the ‘War Horse’ guys. But otherwise, pretty much the only artistic boundaries pushed by this circus-with-all-the-trimmings are how much fun you can have at a small kid’s expense without them bursting into tears. Ringmaster David Williamson’s audience-participation scenes are some of the night’s most memorable, bringing young audience members on stage only to pop a pink elephant-shaped balloon inches from their faces (it gets magically reincarnated, of course) or to menace them with an apparently fearsome raccoon puppet. He’s an engaging host for this night of classic circus, supplementing the kid-tormenting with patter about magic and the supremacy of death-defying skill. And the show’s first scenes do a lot to suck you into the mood of a 1903 circus, with gorgeously attired performers tumbling across the stage and building a huge tent in scenes that feel a bit like the more atmospheric bits of ‘Dumbo’. But ‘Circus 1903’ quickly settles down into something much more straightforward, and periodically a bit dull. The a
The ravens will have left the Tower before Cirque du Soleil gives up on its annual start-of-year stands at the Royal Albert Hall: the only element of mystery is which of its numerous touring extravaganzas will be tasked with filling the slot in any given year (some wags might argue that there’s not that much difference). For 2020, it’ll be the European premiere of ‘Luzia’, which is described as ‘a waking dream of Mexico’ and is inspired by the sights, sounds and traditions of the North American country.
Scottish company SUPERFAN are the winners of this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award for emerging artists, and present the resulting show, ‘Nosedive’, at the Barbican. A child climbs onto an adult’s shoulders and looks out, seeing hope but also destruction. One generation after another reaches higher, looks further, hurtling toward a future they can’t control. Directed by Ellie Dubois and Pete Lannon, this intergenerational show blends theatre and circus, and pits the instinct to protect the young against the wild abandon of childhood.
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