Sunday, January 06, 2013

Regular readers of this blog might be fooled into thinking that my cultural tastes are very high brow (tchah - who'm'I trying to kid?) and so be very surprised to find that I also love - quite fiercely love - a circus.

We would fairly frequent the Moscow State Circus when they were in town as I grew up. And I was particularly delighted by No Fit State Circus from Cardiff when they visited the Fringe a few years back. So when I happened upon a tiny flyer for the Muscovites in Friday's lunchtime sandwich shop, I thought that I might give it a whirl and ascertain whether the thrills and spills were just as thrilling twenty-five years on.

I'm happy to report that they were. Though the audience was sweat-pant clad, ugg-booted and anoraked to the hilt. Though the attendance was first Saturday night in January lacklustre. Though the tent was cold. They were still thrilling.

They have less animals than they did when I was a whipper snapper. None, in fact. Circuses in the US still seem to parade elephants but the unions must be meaner here.

They have laser lights. They have pop songs. They have knee high socks and funny little space packs as part of their costumes that look all very Space Odyssey.

But they still have clowns. They still give out sweets. They still have girls in spandex and dance tights. They still have boys in too tight V-necks. They still have tight ropes and aerial acts and strong men and audience humiliation and impossible remarkable gymnastic feats.

Their star turn is a 17 year old girl who does the splits balanced with one foot on each of the heads of two nicely formed men, nine metres up from the ground on a tightrope.

At one point - was it then or at some earlier or later terrifying feat of endeavour? - I wanted to scream - scream, boys and girls - and this is the most vocally undemonstrative person in the world where any sort of raised volume is involved - at the terror of it. And I wasn't even drunk. (Except on lucozade.)

The theatre doesn't do that.


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