What better way to experience the weird and wonderful diverse world of the circus, than to have a triptych of shows brought to your very attention in one evening? Well… thanks to champions of contemporary circus, Circus Evolution, this very experience has been made a possibility and presents itself in Circus Mayhem.
First up is Rimski, and his hilariously original act of performing a series of self penned numbers whilst navigating his way through the moderately spaced foyer on a piano/bicycle hybrid. The novelty initially grips the audience into a Dickensian inspired world of speaking up about hardships, yet finding the magical within the mundane. The novelty however wears thin, the initial amazement of his act now a distant memory as the act remains on the same level theatrically. Accompanied by, on first impressions another performer, Miranda La Mutanta, intrigue builds as to what will happen next. Asked whether I’d be happy to have a portrait drawn of myself, I’m initially puzzled, but I’m happy to participate. The result is impressive, considering the short time frame given for her to create the image. The idea is a lovely one, but I can’t help but think that this could be introduced earlier in the performance in order to allow the opportunity for other members of the audience to have their portraits sketched, as well as add dynamic to the introduction.
Next up is magician John Hicks, and his ethos of not taking the evening too seriously. From balancing a trio of Elephants on his head, to setting up an elaborate trick involving an Elephant (a toy Elephant that is) performing a somersault, all add to the light heartedness of the evening. The act however never truly astounds until the very last segment. Whilst Elvis Presley’s ‘A Little Less Conversation‘ jovially beams in the background, this is where Hicks finds a lease of life, and proceeds to paint a blank canvas energetically. The end result, once turned around is astonishing, Hicks is to be commended for this but I leave the performance wanting to have seen a series of impressive sequences.
To end the evening is performance trio, BettiCombo with a culmination of juggling and comical skits in their piece, Al Cubo. The motif of utilising, what appears to look like an array of large plastic cups and juggling them amongst each other, as well as balancing them to create tall towers and beautifully creating configurations that allow for the cups to all tumble back down and to all fall into a neat pile showcase the company’s unique presentation of juggling. Al Cubo beams when all 3 performers juggle the white cups amongst each other, around each other and to each other, however these sequences are few and far between. What is undeniable is the camaraderie between the performers. Ilaria Senter, Fabrizio Rosselli and Francesco Caspani support one another if a trick hasn’t quite panned out the way in which they’d wished, channeling the production with an enthusiasm with their support strategies. Senter contributes a layer of jeopardy to an otherwise easy going and safe performance. Her Chinese pole sequence leaves audience members holding their breath, as she effortlessly walks up the apparatus, holds her weight to perform a series of tricks from handstands and dramatically glides down to the ground, her hands not at all used to carry her weight. This features twice in the performance, and I am personally left wanting to see more of these daring sequences throughout the show.
Indeed an eclectic evening of circus inspired performances, the evening however just lacks the awe inspiring magic that is associated with the performance form. 2.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Circus Mayhem was shown at the Albany Deptford on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November. The production however is currently on tour. For more information on the production, visit here…