Brighton Fringe 2010
The Insect Circus is back by popular demand with more magic, aerobatics, puppets and clownish fun as insects of all kinds entertain a family audience.
The Insect Circus is highly successful, Victorian-feel circus that leans heavily on aerial acts, and is brimming with colourfully costumed people and even robots dressed as different kinds of insects.
At the very beginning we are greeted by flies, the music of a barrel organ plays and we’re soon into high jinx and much skill on show on the purple silks.
A ringmaster, Sir Ronald McPeak, takes us through the acts, and soon we enjoy Lady Eleanor Bird and Little El her (robotic) ladybird. A parade of magic, comedy and rope-based acrobatics delivered by a whole host of insects then ensues much to the delight of many of the children in the audience. Earwigs, flies, ladybirds, butterflies, ephemeral mayflies, worms, wasps and even dustmites entertain us in the Freerange dome. For me, the mayfly was the insect with most charisma and the music really fitted the piece to perfection.
Between silks, ropes and rings, the aerobatics, which form a significant share of the show, were a bit ‘samey’. Many of the acts are present in other shows and are also here repeated as last year by the Insect Circus.
The Freerange dome serves the circus well as a performance space. Unfortunately the show lacks the variety and freshness of previous shows. Our ringmaster looked a little like he was going through the motions on this particular night. I know it can be difficult to repeatedly do the same thing on tour, but the audience deserve it. Ironically, it was only when there was a power cut near the end that he really leapt into life. And the hoop act rose to the occasionally brilliantly.
The secret of circus is for the audience to feel that this is the first show, and that they are bearing special witness to some amazing new acts, there in front of them. It’s then that the sharp intakes of breath really start to happen, and the risks taken by the performers feel almost sacred. The show needs a refresh, though it is still well worth the time and ticket price.
That said, there’s plenty still to engage a family audience. It’s time to innovate and experiment a bit more, Insect Circus, to keep the successful format fresh in the eyes and hearts of ALL audience members. But still recommended as an entertaining hour and a bit.