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Circus lacked the wow factor.



YET another circus in Birmingham! Last week we had the exciting Cirque Berserk at Birmingham Rep and this week we have the marginally less exciting Cirque Eloize Cirkopolis, which at times seems more like modern dance interspersed with some balancing acts.

There are no tightrope walkers to be seen here, no trapeze acts and drollery replaces the manic clowning which always lifted the circus.

To my mind a circus needs to open its proceedings with a bang, but Cirkopolis starts off with a back projection of a dreary factory interior while setting the action moving with a centre stage office desk. Men in top hats and overcoats and a few female performers strode around purposefully in a tight, well-lit formation, reminding me of a Twyla Tharp modern dance piece.

Eventually, circus-type activities began to happen, and the first thing to hold the attention was Lea Toran Jenner, a performer who skillfully circled the stage inside a giant hoop.

Another larger wheel appeared later - the German Wheel. Arguably more exciting, it went spinning around the stage cleverly manipulated by Joris de Jong who, like all the other performers had several strings to his bow,and so popped up all over the place from time to time.

One of the few things that gave a sense of danger was the Chinese pole, which was used by a trio of adept acrobats in a way which drew gasps. Shinning up and down at speed, hanging at right angles or dropping from top to bottom in half a second, this was a moment to relish in an evening not overloaded with thrills.

Ugo Laffolay hand balanced on a high interlocked set of chromium poles. Here was a moment which set the house cheering, and at last I was brought to the edge of my seat.

This was a circus anxious to re-invent time-honoured skills yet it didn't quite achieve it.

Runs until tomorrow.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 27, 2015
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