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Review: ‘Circus 1903’ Delights While Transporting To Another Time

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, April 7, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen! Step right up to the unusual, yet thrilling Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus. This turn-of-the-century attraction brings to the stage death-defying acts and skilled artisans performing their astonishing craft. After scanning the globe and auditioning over 1,200 performers, the producers have brought together the crème de la crème of circus acts and created Circus 1903 — The Golden Age of Circus.

In traditional circus format, the animated ringmaster introduces acts to the stage. The Cycling Cyclone, a wizard of the wheel on a bicycle. He glides atop a bicycle without ever losing his balance – a true magician on wheels. Throughout the first half of the show, audiences are treated to a phenomenal acrobatic duo from Montreal, Canada (Les Incredibles) testing their trust and mental force high above the stage – and at times with blindfolds. The Great Gaston, a juggler who can manipulate 3 – 20 objects in mid-air simultaneously. Then there’s Lucky Moon. She combines ballet-like movements on a circular steel apparatus resembling a hula-hoop, suspended from the ceiling, and spins, twirls and swings beautifully across the theatre sky. The Elastic Dislocationist; is an oddly enchanting performer that contorts her body into remarkable poses and extraordinary positions with ease, all without possessing double joints.

Lucky Lady in 'Circus 1903;' photo: Mark Turner.

Lucky Lady in ‘Circus 1903;’ photo: Mark Turner.

The scene-stealers of the circus are the African mother and baby puppets created by the award-winning team of puppeteers and model makers, Significant Object, who created the National Theatre’s War Horse. With sprinkled appearances throughout the show, the mother elephant teaches her baby how to perform on stage. The artistry behind the movements of these puppets are surreal, their animal-like gestures will leave you stunned. The absence of real-life wild animals is refreshing. To date, 17 countries have banned the use of wild animals in traveling circus and live performances; the U.S. Senate has recently introduced a bill to follow suit.

An 'elephant' in 'Circus: 1903;' photo: Mark Turner.

An ‘elephant’ in ‘Circus 1903;’ photo: Mark Turner.

Lastly, Los Lopez’s, hailing from Mexico will fill you with delicious anxiety, because as they perform their series of acts – with an array of props on a high-wire, there’s a strong probability they could plummet to their death at any moment, but of course they don’t!

Circus 1903; photo: Mark Turner.

Los Lopez in ‘Circus 1903;’ photo: Mark Turner.

Circus 1903 has something for everyone. These talented daredevils will leave the whole family clamoring for more. And, the timeless production design conjures up a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of one’s childhood, or at least what we wished it might have been like. Don’t miss out on this spectacular event. The show runs through April 16, 2017; for more information and to purchase tickets click here.


Circus: 1903 presented at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Creative and executive producer: Simon Painter; executive producers: Tim Lawson, Andrew Spencer; creative producer and director: Neil Dorward; composer and musical director: Evan Jolly; associate director: Richard Peakman; puppetry director and puppet co-designer: Mervyn Miller; puppet co-designer: Tracy Waller; technical director/production: David Simpson; technical director/rigging and scenic: Vincent Schonbrodt; costume designer: Angela Aaron; lighting designer: Paul Smith; scenic designer: Todd Edward Ivins; orchestral recordings by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Branding Conception and Art Direction: Nice Studios.

Performers: Ringmaster: David Williamson; The Cycling Cyclone; Les Incredibles; The Great Gaston – Juggler Extraordinaire; Francois Borie; Lucky Moon; Elena Gatilova, Hermanos Rossi; Los Lopez; The Sensational Sozonov; Duo Flash; The Flying Fins; The Elastic Dislocationist; African Elephants/Creators: Significant Object.


Cover: Circus 1903; photo: Mark Turner.


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