Monday, April 22, 2013


Majura Park – Canberra Airport until 27th April
Reviewed by Bill Stephens

There’s something completely irresistible about a circus, with its promise of death-defying feats, corny clowns, cute animals, and freshly cooked pop-corn. Michael Edgley’s Great Moscow Circus certainly lives up to that promise in spades, plus some. Staged in an immaculately presented, state-of-the-art big-top, resplendent with striped minarets and multi-coloured lights, this 2013 edition of the circus which has been touring the country for nearly 50 years, may not be as all-new as promised, but each act is certainly a top class example of its genre. What is new certainly are the pageant-type connecting scenes which may be a bit dodgy as historical context, but certainly add to the overall spectacle.

Some of the most impressive acts are not your usual circus fare. There’s a remarkable quick-change dance duo whose rapid costume changes leaves the audience gasping in amazement, and Albert Roubaud’s “Statue Act” which is equally as intriguing.  Then there’s the terrifying knife throwing skills of Alfredo Silva and his brave, (some might say foolhardy) assistant Anna, who allows Alfredo to throw knives at her while she is strapped to a spinning wheel
Oxana Zinchenko
Oxana Zinchenko
Among the more traditional acts, the gorgeous Oxana Zinchenko, suspended high above the audience on spectacular red, white and blue silks, performs graceful heart-stopping manoeuvres minus the security of a safety- net, and Olksandr and Natalia Gerasymenko whose skilful, captivating routine is performed on a single trapeze.
Among the larger acts, the eight-person Romashov double Russian swing act provides high-flying thrills as its members perform daring mid-air stunts while propelled high above the heads of the audience, and another spectacularly costumed troupe with the rather prophetic name of “Group of Risk”, who perform amazing and amusing feats bouncing and prancing above and around a huge piece of apparatus called a wall trampoline.

The Romashov Troupe
All the kids loved the cute little well-fed ponies who performed prettily, particularly the tiny one who managed to steal the limelight at every opportunity, and the larger pony who sat in a lounge chair, before retiring in a real bed, and especially the clowns, young and fresh, whose genuinely funny new routines include a marvellous sequence when one of them manages to get himself trapped inside a huge yellow balloon with hilarious results.

Too quickly the night comes to a climax with the truly impressive Globe of Death, which we’ve certainly seen before, but this year, five motorcyclists (count ‘em) roar around inside a 4 mtr. metal sphere, which disconcertingly parts in the middle while all this is happening.

The Globe of Death 
Michael Edgley’s Great Moscow Circus has always been synonymous with all that’s best in modern circus, and this latest edition definitely upholds that tradition.

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