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Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

Carney antics and quaint love take over the New Victory Theater.

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

  • Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5



An upbeat spectacle evoking the rough-around-the-edges charm of traveling carnivals, Squirm Burpee Circus brings small-town vaudeville to the big city. Determined to break down the barrier between actor and audience, the production's four-person cast transforms old-fashioned flights of theatrical fancy into interactive and accessible kids' entertainment. There are even a few opportunities for lucky folks to join in the action onstage.

Peppered with songs and circus acts, the loosely scripted play often has a variety show feel. Twin brothers Mike the Handsome (Michael Huling) and Dashing Dave (Dave Clay) make up the titular troupe, a juggling duo with an easy camaraderie that's sent for a loop by the arrival of a love interest: Lolo (Cole Schneider), a neophyte assistant. Baron Vegan von Hamburger (Jason Knauf), a larger-than-life ruffian, lurks in the shadows, attempting to secretly destroy the circus by any means necessary.

All four actors play their caricatured roles convincingly—especially Knauf as the burly Baron. When he opens the show riding into town on "the axel of evil," a monkey-powered contraption that looks like a Roald Dahl invention come to life, he immediately grabs kids' attention and doesn't let go until the curtain call. Throughout the performance, the villain's desperate attempts to quash the fun and games repeatedly (and comically) backfire, culminating in his flying through the stratosphere as a human cannonball, a climax that reveals a surprising truth about the foursome and triggers some serious introspection for the Baron.

The action goes down on a quaint, no-frills set punctuated by a screen that shows animated clips that fill in the characters' backstories. Low-tech touches like a huge sign dangling precariously over the seats and a bunch of enormous red balloons unleashed on the audience at the play's end are winning reminders that down-home effects can still work magic.—Lee Magill

Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama plays at the New Victory Theater through Nov 28.

 


 

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