The show is a collaboration between the producers of The Illusionists (which played last month in the same theatre) and the puppeteers of the London West End sensation War Horse.
The show brings us back in time to 1903, the glory years of the circus. While we don't actually travel back in time, the costumes, sets, and performers all do a great job of reminding us of that time when television didn't exist, when radio didn't exist, and when all the factories and schools would shut down when the circus came to town.
|David Willamson as ringmaster Willy Whipsnade|
|Senayet Asefa Amare|
Another great act was the contortionist Senayet Asefa Amare. She is perhaps the finest contortionist I have ever seen, doing a variety of tricks with ease and confidence. There's one piece where her lower body rotates around her upper body, which is fairly still. She bills herself as The Elastic Dislocationist, and I believe it.
A third very wonderful act was the juggler Francois Boire, who is a French club juggler. As is typical of European flash jugglers, he was very fast and precise, but he was able to perform 7 clubs! He also did a lot of incredible speed juggling, including a trick where he rotated the clubs sideways so that they were parallel to the ground instead of perpendicular. I've seen that trick before, but not with the kind of speed and virtuosity that he displayed.
|Mexican tightwire act finale Los Lopez|
Williamson did a couple of magic acts to fill in those spots-- his bullwhip act was so so, but his Rocky Racoon act (which is a 20 dollar spring puppet) was wonderfully performed and got a great response from the crowd. He brought up 4 kids from the audience, and they had a fantastic time, and he knew how to play them for maximum response.
There were some lighting problems on the night we saw the show-- about half of the bows for the individual acts were done without light. Not sure if the follow spot operator called in sick, or they weren't able to set the lights due to their fast turnaround. I am sure they will be working on that tomorrow.
All in all it was a wonderful show. You should see it while it's here in Chicago, and if you can't see it in Chicago, they are going to be all over the United States for the next 6 months. Click here to see if they will be in your area.
|The performers take their final bows.|
|Some video of the acts in the show (provided by Broadway in Chicago.)|
Some of the performers seen here didn't make it to the opening night.
I am not sure if they will be in the rest of the performances, or if they
had problems getting visas.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE IN CHICAGO
Wednesday, March 22 – 7:30PM
Thursday, March 23 – 7:30PM
Friday, March 24 – 7:30PM
Saturday, March 25 – 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Sunday, March 26 – 2:00PM & 7:30PM
Individual tickets for CIRCUS 1903 –The Golden Age of Circus at the Oriental Theatre range from $16- $80 with premium seats available for all performances. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
When last I looked HotTix did have tickets available for some of the performances as well.