The Night the Circus Came to Town

12 Feb

Last night, we had the opportunity to attend the opening night of the US tour of Circus 1903. It was an amazing spectacle to behold.


The evening was filled with jugglers, tumblers, contortionists, and aerialists. There were even elephants- Queenie and little Peanut. And sitting in the second row, it was definitely an evening filled with magic.

This isn’t your everyday circus. Circus 1903 takes the audience back in time to the turn of the 20th century. To a show where the spectacle of man’s ability far outweighed the magic of technology. From the cries of the kids behind us, the skills of the performers and their ability to manipulate their bodies or, in the queenie-peanutcase of the jugglers, the tools of their trade. (And for anyone concerned about the welfare of the animals, the two elephants were puppets- but they were amazing)

florien-bikeThe Ringmaster began the show with some slight of hand, entertaining not only the audience but a wee 5 year old called up to help him out. It’s important to note how good this Ringmaster was with children because several other kids came up (and one adult) throughout the show to help with a trick or two and he kept them focused, the audience entertained, and show moving along at a nice pace.

In the first act of the show, the circus rolls into town and the characters work to “set it up” and entice the “crowd” into coming to the show. The act ends with the “tent” going up and final preparations for the show. Thus the second act, the characters have switched from casual clothes into sparkly show costumes and the performances magical quality increased.

circus1903_balanceNow, the audience spent the evening enjoying the magic of the show. Remember, this isn’t your typical night of theatre- but it also isn’t a rock concert. The kids in the row behind us were energetic and excited (but also incredibly annoying with their non-stop screeching) and while this should be commended, it should also have been monitored by one of the adults around them in order to decrease the constant stream. It was distracting for the audience members right around them. It should also be noted, that the performers were excellent at encouraging audience response.


The show is family friendly and well-paced, it runs about 2 hours. It would be nice to have a souvenir program, and maybe there was one- but it was not to be found by us.


One thing to note- these are real people, performing real “stunts”, and there were some tumbles. But they took a moment, and refocused to continue their performance. Commendable. And a great lesson to those kids in the row behind us- get up and keeping going, after all, the show must go on.

(note- all pictures taken from Google search because it is against the rules to take pictures of live theatre… though there were moments my fingers itched to snag a photo!)
(additional information collected by researcher, Barbara)

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