Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus


Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of CircusSkilled performers shine within a creative plotline in the international production Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus. Unique features and humanity bring a taste of old time excitement but with the professional polish of 2016. There is a universal theme, variety of performances, original soundtrack, and a sense of delight and awe.

Competition is fierce for the multigenerational theatre experience. More bums on seats = more money. But six-year-olds yawn at Shakespeare, and Paw Patrol best thrills those who think all screens are swipeable. Solution? Circus! Even the hard-to-please can’t help but hold their breath as extreme feats and dazzling dare could in a split second be an OMG moment.

So what makes Circus 1903 different to similar modern circus productions such as from Cirque du Soleil? Firstly, the improvisation and personalisation by ringleader and magician Willy Whipsnade (David Williams). He manages to improvise the script and play to audience delights. Secondly, Circus 1903 embraces the circus as a community, whereby even walking in the lobby and waiting for the acts to appear heightens the anticipation. OK, so there are no bearded ladies feeding caged lions on the way to the loos, but it’s more than the usual theatre experience. Yes, the acts are what you’d expect of a circus: tightrope walking, acrobatics, knife throwing, juggling, balancing. Even though this is familiar, the enthusiasm of the performers enliven the vibe. The minor mishaps are perhaps intentional to give a dash of humanity to these super-humans.

And then there’s the wow factor of the life-size puppets. Design and skill combine to make the elephants by Significant Object come alive on stage. The effect of practiced movement in the jaunty strut of calf Peanut by the puppeteer match the lifelike flutter of the ears of mama elephant Queenie.

The show begins with the excitement of an early 1900s circus group setting up the Big Top, then follows on into the second Act with the show within a show. Throughout are the stars: individuals, duos and even a family. Each act escalates in excellence: juggling gets faster, danger elevates, and flips go higher. There is even the thrill of the new such as artistic cycling, with European Champion Florian Blümmel expertly weaving around the stage on a simple bicycle.

Highlights include the quasi clown act Duo Flash Yevgeniy Dashkivskyy and Yefrem Bitkine. Even though they mostly ‘just’ tumble, they have charisma and spark – and that’s harder than it looks! Costume Designer Angela Aaron’s costumes have dazzle and seem authentic for the era, as do the set details by scenic artist Todd Ivins.

Music is too loud at times, but the score by composer Evan Jolly suits each act. From the piano elegance and grace of aerialist Elena Gatilova as Lucky Moon to the upbeat frenzy of the tightrope team Johan and Jonatan Lopez and Mariaiose Pontigo from Mexico.

A lot of money, time and effort is invested Circus 1903, and it pays off. There is enough originality and character to earn the ‘gonna only see one circus this year – this is it’. The show premieres in Canberra before travelling around Australia then around the world.


Canberra Theatre Centre and The Works Entertainment Group present
Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus

Venue: Canberra Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre
Dates: 1 – 10 Dec 2016
Tickets: $99 – $39
Bookings: canberratheatrecentre.com.au | (02) 6275 2700


ALSO

Sydney
Sydney Opera House
18 – 29 December 2016
 
Melbourne
Regent Theatre
3 – 12 January 2017

Visit: www.circus1903.com

Most read reviews

The Wizard of Oz

How often do you have the opportunity to relive your childhood, with your own adult ‘child’ next to you?

Spring Awakening | Hills Musical Company

It’s a brave director who mounts a work addressing full frontally taboo issues like teen sex, masturbation, physical and sexual abuse, homosexuality, abortion, injustice, oppression of minorities and suicide.

In-laws, outlaws & other people (that should be shot) | Blackwood Players

Despite its grammatical inaccuracy, the title of this play by Steve Franco is beguiling and the Blackwood Players took it on with gusto.

Burlesque by Force | Brodie John

Burlesque by Force is persistently provocative, munificent and shrewd.

Let the Right One In | Black Swan State Theatre Company

What if you’re life was so bleak that you found light where only others found darkness? What if the passage into adulthood and your first experience of love was driven not by joy and romance, but by a desperate need for acceptance and protection?

Most read news

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to open in Melbourne 2019

 Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, producers of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, have today confirmed the record-breaking production will open in early 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, exclusively and only at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre.

Wendy McCarthy to step down as Circus Oz Chair

Wendy McCarthy AO has announced that she will retire as Circus Oz Chair at the end of October after nine years in the role.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required