Review: Chinese State Circus - Dynasty

The Monkey King prepares for the Lion Dance at the Chinese State Circus Pic: Contributed
The Monkey King prepares for the Lion Dance at the Chinese State Circus Pic: Contributed
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SPECTACULAR and sassy, bold and beautiful, step into the Big Top of the Chinese State Circus at Meadowbank Stadium car park this week, and you’ll find yourself in a majestic world of spellbinding acrobatics, breathtaking bravery and effortless elegance.

Big Top, Meadowbank Stadium Car Park

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There may be no clowns, killer or otherwise, in this new production but Dynasty is certainly the real deal.

In place of a ringmaster, a mischievous Monkey King casts his magical spell over children and adults alike.

Seamlessly, he links the acts with gentle humour and unspoken commands, which, at one point, result in some perfectly timed ‘embarrassed dad’ audience participation.

Opening the show, a lone percussionist beats out a welcome as the circus ring explodes into a brilliant wash of colour.

Rich reds, golds, oranges and yellows pulse and glow as a traditional Lion Dance ensures good fortune for what is to follow.

Simply put, that is two hours of sensational circus, delivered by a hugely skilled and passionate young company, each drawn from the best of China’s circus schools.

In a graceful start, the elegance of foot juggling is showcased in a display of super-human dexterity.

Lying on her back, one of the jugglers balances up to eight finely decorated parasols, flicking them from foot to foot with ease.

Later, the troupe perform equally exacting routines with everything from hats (super fast), to ungainly drums (not so fast, but just as impressive).

Similarly, a diablo display and spinning water act (a rope with a bowl of water attached either end defying gravity as they are tossed through the air without spilling a drop) are performed with acute precision.

With the entrance of the Shaolin Warriors the stakes are upped, literally, as wooden canes and metal bars are broken over flesh before one warrior is held aloft on four spearheads.

As acrobats are launched through the air in a mesmerising display of tumbling and hoop diving, and the award-winning ‘bicycle act’ girls thrill with a ‘don’t try this at home’ display that has to be seen to be believed, it’s worth remembering the average age of the performers here is just 20. So much future talent is on display.

Perhaps though, the most breath-taking moment of the entire show comes with the arrival of the Golden Man, a Chinese Pole act second to none, and a feat of incredible strength and agility.

Enchanting and thrilling in equal measure then, roll up, roll up, for tickets to the Chinese State Circus, a fun-filled show for all the family that awes and amuses and never disappoints.

Until Sunday