Le Grand Cirque AdrenalineLeon van Nierop
Leon van Nierop: Forget all those clichés reviewers use when they try to describe what a production of this calibre does to their eyes.
Words like “awesome, breathtaking” and “spectacular” fly through reviews with the same speed as contortionists and trampoline artists fly through the air. This high-quality production with its razor sharp energy, its infectious adrenaline injection and distinctive stylish acts will leave you speechless. It is the equivalent to a special effects movie in 3-D, with the only difference that there are no special effects. The performers defy gravity and human limitations by proving what can be done without the help of a computer to manipulate images.
This is the real, incredible thing!
The woman sitting next to me frequently literally clasped her hands over her eyes and twice jumped out of her chair while several other patrons stared in disbelief at acts so daring, it defies description.
Fact of the matter is: This team presents daredevil acts with such precision, charm, style and deceptive ease, that the audience are literally lifted out of their seats. A reviewer often watches the clock, thinking: Another 30 minutes before interval or: another 20 minutes till the end. But during this awe-inspiring tour de force that leaves you stunned, time ceases to exist. When interval arrived one wanted to shout: No! Keep going!
You are transported to another astonishing dimension where artists, contortionists, jugglers and dancers use their bodies to perform startling movements. The director and his team pay tribute to what the human body is capable of and does so with incredible and mind-blowing expertise.
The daredevil acts, in which bodies fly through the air or are contorted into impossible positions, are interrupted by the MC (Salvador Salangsang) who engages with the audience. Here is a word of warning. If, like me, you land in the first 6 rows from the front, the merciless MC is going to pull you out of a spectator’s view into that of a participant. One of the sketches involves four hapless dudes who are forced to dance or make sounds to the delight of those lucky souls who remain in the audience. It provides a welcome breather from the acts, as one definitely needs this time to pull oneself together and rearrange your senses.
Not all the sketches work, however. The opening with the MC rolling up toilet paper is not funny or engaging and doesn’t set you in the right mood for the miraculous acts to follow. But once The Russian swings propels bodies through the air and an artist contorts his body into impossible positions (not even described in the Kama Sutra!) the art of body movement gets new meaning.
Perhaps the scariest, eye-covering acts concern two daredevils who do impossible acts in a turning wheel (called Wheel of Destiny) and the spectacular finale when three motorbike riders perform Globe of Death and ... I am searching for words here, other staggering tricks. Again a cliché is this reviewer’s only salvation: “You will not believe your eyes.” Other highlights include Aerial Lira and Shape manipulation.
Le Grand Cirque is the most breathtaking and marvellous evening I spent at the Joburg theatre for many moons!
Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline
With Salvador Salangsang and other artists
Directed by Neil Dorward
At the Joburg Theatre, Braamfontein
Leon van Nierop is one of South Africa's best-known and most respected film critics. He has reviewed films for 34 years for every medium; from television and radio to magazines, newspapers and the Internet. He has lectured on film criticism for 14 years throughout the country and headed the TUT film school in Pretoria for 4 years. He has also written two books on film analysis, the most recent being Movies Made Easy published by van Schaiks. He has also served as judge for several short film and film competitions, is part of the SAFTA jury awarding Golden Horns to the best local film talent, and writes extensively on film for several publications. He also served as professor in film at TUT and also headed that film school for 4 years. He has just completed a stint as presenter, scriptwriter, voice-over artist and co-producer for DEKAT on SABC 3. He has written 23 novels and several TV-series and dramas and is currently working on another novel. He is also a newsreader and continuity presenter for RSG on SABC radio and serves as their major film critic.
Web site: http://www.joburgtheatre.com
Joburg Theatre Complex, Loveday Street Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa