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Posts : 21
Join date : 2009-09-12

PostSubject: MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle   MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle Icon_minitimeSun Sep 13, 2009 11:43 am

A REVIEW fri 4, fri 11
On friday the 11 of september I had a ring side seat. 3 girls in their mid twenties with 3 huge pink candyflosses in their hands set down next to me. One of them said:- I come to the circus to get a candyfloss!!!-
Indeed, the venue wasn't packed, but the fragrance of candyfloss, popcorn and hotdogs was invading the big top. And that what's all about traditional circuses!
So, who decided that a traditional circus should have a storyline? Why Rasputin and why a story about monks? Why the Boney M that have nothing to share with Russia? Why that annoying pseudo-russian voice coming from nowhere telling us the "constant battle for survival"?
I know, circuses have always been colourful and amazing, from the fleet of trucks and trailers to the big tops; from the elephants and horses parades in the street to the arrivals at the grounds; the pull ups and pull downs... but, no, not the storylines. I better prefer a traditional parade of artists to open the show that actually, at the Moscow State Circus came, but later and after that imbarassing womb that gushed Rasputin out.
For an instant I had Rasputin standing in front of me showing his profile and I noticed that his beard was fake. And if that wasn't bad enough, I remember that last year at the Town Moor of Newcastle, I saw the Chinese State Ciircus that started exactly with the same story of the monks!!!. A bit of fantasy at the EEC, please!
It's quite a while now that I go to see the british version of the Moscow State Circus. In the continent, usually, A Moscow State Circus employs just one troupe of original russian artists with a couple of acts and the rest of the show is completed with family acts or local artists.
I have to praise Mr Featherstone and Mr Austen for their choices and courageus investments into the show, bringing always new acts and build brand new shows. Rare thing in the world of circuses that too often lack of originality. And they never failed into entertaining and satisfying me. This year was as good as ever, but the show had its hits and sometime misses.

SILKS: 2 artists with a good knowledge of their job, flowlessly executed that really amused and entertained the public. I enjoyed the acts but I rather prefered to see two artists working together at the same prop, rather than two separate ones trying to syncronize their job. The music was too fast for an act that normally is executed slowly, thoughtfully and sentimentally. The result was a cold start of the show that failed, somehow, to warm up the public.

JUGGING: I don't know how many in the world still imagine Russia as military parades, ruthless eyes and rigid soldiers, but certainly this is what at the Moscow State Circus the Army was about. They came to arrest Raspuntin, and I hoped for good. The Didyk troupe, 7 men that certainly knew what they were doing! After the lukewarm start the show was picking up with great passages of rings and skittles, higher and higher, criss-crossing the heads of the artists, becoming faster and faster and confusing the eyes of the public. Very entertaining and well received by the public.

CLOWNS: Valik and Valerik, two solid and traditional clowns, with the sweet Valik in the clothes of the august oppressed by Valerik! Valerik started with a good act on slack wire, where he is sleeping precariously. He is woken up by Valik who reminds him his duties. At that point he starts to get dressed combining humour and acrobatics and culminating to the classical cup of tea, with the cup on the head and the spoon lounched with a foot. Later during the show, they came back in the ring several times, adding more and more skills, from a tip tap played on a bench to a splendid musical entree . Loughs assured.

HAND TO HAND: A very impressive performance of strenghts and endurance well accepted and feted by the public. Unfortunately, to me it looked like a copy cat seen in Quidam of the Cirque du Soleil, and nowaday even too common in many rings in the continent. A hand balancing that lack of the wow factor, originality. Good as it gets.

CROSSBOW: It's an act that doesn't come across very often and when it happens you gasp for breath. Yeah, precision, concentration and drama is part of the game and the Popazovs know too well how to stage these components. Many of the public where covering their eyes waiting for the (apparently) tragedy to unfold! But all went well and I applauded with gusto to what became my favourite act of the show!

WHEEL OF DEATH: a must in every ring of the world. Not very Russian in its origins, more latin-american, but hey presto!, who care if it is as good as the one I have just seen? The four artists never spared themselves offering sheer thrill and unconditioned drama! A frenetic and fast act, that grows and builds up bit by bit adding danger to danger in every routine. At one point, one of the four executed a skipping rope while riding high the spinning wheel. To the screems of the terrified crowd!!!

TRAMPOLINE: The same troupe of the Wheel of Death opened the second act of the show. The act was a combination of trampoline and trapeze. The porteur at the trapeze had to catch the collegue jumping from the net. Few acrobatic passages, sommersoults and comic routines by a drunk who happens along. Not bad, but not impressive but apreciated by the most.

CONTORTION: 3 very pretty girls engaged in contortion. Nowadays we don't call anymore contortionism, but "acrosport". And we have a world championship as well, not linked to circuses at all, but a sport capable to produce artists for the ring. That's where these 3 girls come from, I presume. Not a bad act, but with just few routines and, sadly, I have to say, one of the three failed in doing a perfect vertical. The act was filled with dance routines, but I came at the Moscow State Circus and not at the Kirov and the act wasn't just for me. To the profane it has (just) done the job.

GERMAN WHEEL: Ok Rasputin, the beard is off, you have to show that you are not only an irritating ring master. Your partner does a very good opening with the german wheel. And you are very good at it. When you both work together, you syncronize very well the routines, the act is well supported by an appropriate music. German Wheel is a beautiful act, but I think a little bit "too contemporary circus" for a russian circus. Thats why leaves me a bit cold and perplex. While I can appreciate and enjoy your act, i cannot figure it out in a traditional context.

TRAPEZE WASHINGTON: And here we are back to tradition. Maybe I will not be able to find the right words to describe this act but for those who know this kind of number, if you don't add anything personal it may become sterile. And there you go. Two artistes that are building a story, a love story, high in the big top and down in the ring. The beautiful violins of the soundtrack armonized the syncronicity of the bodies. By Jove!, it was sexy.

RUSSIAN SWING: The last act of the evening. The most waited one. you can't conclude the show without russian swing. Strenght and stamina, peculiar to the show. From the ring side I could see the millimetric precision of the jumps to obtain daredevil sommersaults higher and higher till reaching a sort of trapeze situated in the voult of the big top. Pointless to say what are the fealings for each routines. Goose bumps because the act, the music and the lighting, and because the public was very involved with the fast routines: shouting, whistling, clapping hands and feet, was the way to underline every stage of the russian swing. Legendary.

As I said, the show is not flawless. The Moscow State Circus 2009 is not as good as the 2006 edition and previous ones, but certainly is high entertaining and good value for money. One of the best circus shows touring the Uk. I think the insertion of more contemporary acts, such as German Wheel, Acrosport (contortion?), Silks, into a traditional context doesn't work in favour of the show itself. But when more traditional acts are seen, the show lives up to its expectations, becoming more lively and interesting. I think it's difficult to include a storyline into a traditional show; where traditional acts cannot interpret the story and explain it, the more contemporary ones in that contest have not enough support (from the other acts, music) to deliver the story. Bring back a traditional Ringmaster capable to explain the acts and describe the artists. This is traditional circus.
There is a good choice of music, a good sound track, sometimes dramatic, sometimes funny, but again doesn't seam to be a winning choice the mix of traditional and contemporary music. Beautiful costumes, colourful and always appropriate to the acts. I missed a proper orchestra and what can I say, the synths can replicate many instruments, but not the wormth of the circus music.
All in all a very good show that I would see again. Thanks for reading.
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burt renaolds

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Join date : 2009-06-17
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PostSubject: Re: MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle   MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle Icon_minitimeMon Sep 14, 2009 8:48 am

A story line - a show stopper??? confused
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PostSubject: Re: MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle   MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle Icon_minitimeTue Feb 02, 2010 6:06 pm

Roberto i have a MASSIVE favour to ask. Do you know the music used for Act 2 were the couple used the German Wheel? Ive spent months trying to find the answer. Not even the company know as ive spoken to a few people.

Really hope you know or can help me in someone.

Cheer Mike
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PostSubject: Re: MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle   MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS Newcastle Icon_minitimeMon Feb 22, 2010 2:53 pm

Sorry Mike if You had to wait so long for an answer. I tried to find on Youtube some clips about the act: sorry I found nothing on german wheel. Unfortunately I cannot remember the sound track.
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