Le Grand Cirque Fantazie - stunningly impressivePeter Feldman
Peter Feldman: The Le Grand Cirque concept is not new and those who see the show know exactly what to expect in terms of human dexterity and extraordinary skill.
One can only marvel at the amazing feats executed by this talented team of 50 champion acrobats and performers hailing from 15 countries. These incredibly agile athletes can swing from the trapeze one moment, balance majestically on a bicycle made for almost a dozen people the next, and then twist the body into different shapes while balancing a head gear of lighted candles. There are not too many people around that can climb a pole, like a great ape, in seconds and then perform a number of acute movements in harmony and with exact timing.
Most of the sequences are magical and imaginative affairs, but one that stood out for me was Mussorgsky's classic "Night on the Bare Mountain" in which the performers become luminous fantasy figures silhouetted against the dark background. It was spellbinding. Another has a ballerina on point while balancing precariously on her partner's head.
There is really very little to fault in a spectacular show of this calibre; exquisite costumes, superb lighting patterns and music to stir the soul. It's no wonder the show has garnered such international applause because what they manage to do with their young bodies is quite breath taking.
We won't go into too many details about the clowning and irritating MC whose task was to keep the audience entertained between acts. The best thing he did was to disappear inside a giant balloon - and his attempts in trying to get out were by far the funniest event of the evening.
I know I have seen many of these types of acts before, but I never grow tired of watching them in action.
"Le Grand Cirque Fantazie" is playing at The Mandela, Joburg Theatre until 8 August.
Peter Feldman has been a journalist and arts critic for over 45 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He is active in the freelance field and his work over the past 10 years has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He writes regularly for Artslink.co.za, The Citizen, South African Jewish Report, The Sunday Independent and is a contributor to "Eat Out" Magazine. He also contributes movie reviews to Chai fm Radio and has worked on TV in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. After retiring from The Star in April, 1999, Feldman joined the PR and events management company, Dlamini Weil Communications, where he currently works as an entertainment and media consultant.
Joburg Theatre Complex, Loveday Street Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa