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THE CIRCUS DIARIES: Uncle Sam’s Great American Circus

In Cabaret, Circus, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

A big red, white ‘n’ blue tent sits in the corner of the park, surrounded by big American style trucks to match, all emblazoned with circus imagery for Uncle Sam’s Great American Circus. Don’t expect to see any real Americans, but do prepare yourself for a polished representation of what popular imagination says a circus should be.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: Big Top Typewriter

In Books, Cabaret, Circus, Opinion, Reviews by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

Here is a book that hits all my buttons: It’s a book about circus; it’s a book about writing; most importantly, it’s a book about writing about circus! David Lewis Hammarstrom wrote his first circus review at the age of 14, frustrated then – as I often am still now – about the lack of critical appraisal in a mainstream media that doesn’t know its circus onions, or in fan press that accentuates only positives and gives little sense of relative perspective.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: Any Port In A Storm

In Cabaret, Circus, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

Dressing up boxes, jewels, and the English countryside are three of the prominent phrases that stick in my mind from the Giffords Circus website. And, as if by magic, they have all been brought to life in the quintessentially quaint circus pitch in the fields of Fennells Farm, and in the Elizabethan opulence that waits inside the bright white tent.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: Luzia, by Cirque du Soleil

In Cabaret, Circus, International, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

Entering the turreted world of tents that forms the Cirque du Soleil pop-up kingdom on the waterfront of Old Montréal, we pass under bright yellow arches of truss, adorned with the butterflies that form one of Luzia‘s recurring motifs of beauty and the propagation of life. The show is subtitled ‘A Waking Dream of Mexico’, and sits in the realm of magic realism that latin authors conjure so well. A red-nosed squeaking maitre’d burbles about, crowds of business people sip champagne in canvas VIP rooms, and beyond is the main big top with its integrated foyer.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: UniverSoul Circus, Western Unit 2016

In Circus, Features, International, Opinion, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

The yellow and red striped tent of UniverSoul Circus aptly signals the gaiety it houses inside. This is circus reinvented as one big party, with a communal spirit at its heart. A jaunty logo decorates exterior fencing and interior merchandise booths with a globe that wears its own big top like a hat. Past the red-coated vendors, camel rides, and tuxedo’d ringhands, the logo appears again, playing across the moving LED screen ring doors as we take our seats around the perimeter.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: Circus Mondao, 2016

In Cabaret, Circus, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

The 11th season from family owned and operated Circus Mondao is a welcome reminder that the best shows don’t always come from the biggest operators. Away from the big city, their tents are pitched in the Welsh hills, amid damp earth and friendly smiles. Blue and gold military uniforms for the performers serving front of house match the blue of the big top, and the matching stable tents out back.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: Continental Circus Berlin, 2016

In Cabaret, Circus, Features, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

A pristine white tent in the carpark of the football stadium marks the temporary pitch of Continental Circus Berlin in Cardiff. A spacious foyer tent is edged with stands selling burgers, candyfloss, flashy toys or popcorn but, passing through the canvas tunnel, the airy lightness gives way to vivid reds inside the main big top. Green tinged lights and neon lit stairs around the ring doors, topped with hooped arches, suggest a Weimar-era Berlin, while a much more modern giant cuddly snake takes pride of place in the centre of the ring among the other soft raffle prizes on offer.

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CIRCUS DIARIES: The Insect Circus

In Cabaret, Children's theatre, Circus, Features, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

The Insect Circus is a delightful wonderland of incredible mini-beasts, grown to human proportions and trained for our viewing pleasure by a multi-talented troupe of performers, headed up by BAFTA winning Creative Director Mark Copeland and his partner Emma Munro. Like any variety show, the line-up regularly changes, and today the show is brought to us by a company of 14, including the little girls who look after the flies. You heard right.

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THE GREAT CANADIAN CIRCUS – Christmas Spectacular 2015

In Cabaret, Circus, Features, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

My first circus of 2016 has been a roller coaster – some highs, some lows, some coasting and most certainly a whole load of thrills. Presented by the Planet Circus team (who also brought the Continental Circus Berlin to Star City for last year’s Christmas show), this is the second time the Great Canadian Circus has appeared in the UK and this afternoon, with only one more day of performances left, the big top is completely sold out.

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GANDEY’S THRILL CIRCUS

In Circus, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

Outside it’s damp, and dark by 5pm, making the coloured lights and vibrant temptations inside the Gandey’s tent even more enticing. This is a traditional show (sans animals, as is the current fashion) and, after passing through the foyer tent with its hot and cold concessions stand, my first thrill comes from heading down the blue canvas corridor, sides crossed with bunting, to emerge into the main arena filled with feel-good modern pop music.