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Roll up, roll up

The circus is in town. But not just any circus... this is the Moscow State Circus and their glitzy new show, Gostinitsa, set in the grandeur of a 1930s hotel.

I’d like show of hands from all of you who love the circus. Go on. Get em up. Hey, you at the back, don’t be shy… I’m not going to make you walk the tightrope.

The circus has become a classic, almost vintage event for 21st century families. These days, though, the circus is less about performing animals, and more about performing people. And boy can these people perform.

I went to the Moscow State Circus this week, which is perhaps where it all began. In the early 1900s, Lenin declared his wish for the circus to become “the people’s art form” with performances on par with the theatre, opera and ballet. Almost 10 years later, the Moscow Circus School was established with performers trained using methods from the Soviet gymnastics programme. When the Moscow State Circus started touring in the Fifties, it took on a whole new level of originality and the artistry was widely applauded.

Their latest show, Gostinitsa, combines the best of the circus art forms and adds the art deco glitz and glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood. According to the bumf, the artistes have spent their lives training for this magnificent performance.

The show features smartly uniformed acrobat bellboys and a host of bizarre hotel guests, including daredevil tightrope walkers, glamorous trapeze stars, a well-balanced unicyclist and a foot juggling extraordinaire. And of course, it wouldn’t be the circus without the clowns – the Chervotkins Duo who guide us through this Hotel of Curiosities.

You’ll marvel at the core strength of these performers who make flying through the air or balancing atop a 10-metre pole look like a mere walk in the park. Up close, their strength is more obvious – and God Almighty it’s impressive. Not once do they lose that brilliant performer’s smile. Excuse me while I drop for 100 sit-ups. I. Will. Have. Abs. Of. Steel. Too.

I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favourite act amongst this lot – they’re all so unique and incredibly talented that if feels like you’d be taking something away from one to give greater accolades to another. Most days, there are three performances which to my mind make each performance even more incredible.

This is a slick show with fantastic costumes, choreography and story-telling. And it’s accessible to every age group. I went with Mr M and our two mudlets who are 10 and 13. And we loved it. In the seats behind us was a family with toddlers. They, too, clearly loved it. In front of us, a loved-up couple sans kids cuddled up to each other… and it was obvious that this show also struck a note with them.

This is high-class entertainment done the traditional way. And I’d highly recommend you get along to see it.

The Moscow State Circus is at Queens Road, Hersham Green, KT12 5LU,  until Sun 17 Sept. moscowstatecircus.com

 

 

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