A few months ago I was thrilled to see this on the upcoming shows list and have been eagerly counting down ever since. The buzz of the crowd approaching the theatre and waiting in the foyer confirmed I wasn’t the only one! As the lights dimmed I soon forgot how incredibly warm the theatre was and became caught up in the action. The opening scene was set with a traditional backdrop, and the rumbling beat of a drummer live on stage. As you would expect, the chinese dragons were soon weaving around accompanied by several dancers, and I found myself relaxing into the vibrant atmosphere. It would be an impossible task to commit to a favourite character or act, as they were all exquisite in their own way.It was noticeable that despite limited props being used, the quality of the production was obvious – from the sound and lighting, to the costumes and the performers themselves. What also struck me throughout the show was how enjoyable the Chinese State Circus must be to such a wide range of people – and the cross-section of ages and ethnicities I saw around me in the audience wassolid proof.
The couple of hours were so jam packed it’s hard to recall every artist gracing the stage but I must commend the running order, with intense moments followed by comedic, and the dangerous by skilled acts that literally left me open-mouthed. The mute monkey compere was charming, and I loved the audience participation! It was a shame to see a family member getting told off by the usher for taking a picture of their loved one on stage, particularly when the closing announcement thanked the audience for coming and clearly asked for all photos to be tagged on social media….maybe the ‘rules’ could be made clearer in future. What was so fantastic about this show was its use of daily objects to do the seemingly impossible – my friend and I already have grand plans for some synchronised gymnastic type activities (I jest…my gymnastic ability is generally wine related only). My highlights would have to be the oriental ballet which had some truly breath taking moves, and the male pole gymnast. Both were an unbelievable display of strength, precision and endless hours of training (and I imagine bruises?!). I am not someone who is easily pleased, but I couldn’t find a single criticism and think it’s a shame that Aylesbury was playing host for one night only. I doubt there are many circuses out there able to offer the level of entertainment and talent I was lucky enough to watch tonight.